A Bird Watcher’s Delight
Motueka Sandspit - Sunday 4 October 2020
Our easy walk from the Saltwater Baths to the end of the Motueka Sandspit and back was timed to coincide with the return of the Bar-Tailed Godwits (Kuaka) after their non-stop six-to-eight-day 12,000km flight from Alaska. This epic feat is the world’s longest non-stop bird flight.
We started our walk at 9.30 and were finished about 2.30. This included a half hour lunch break at the furtherest point of the spit, and numerous stops to observe the avian abundance of our feathered friends.
Our highlight was viewing a flock of about 200-250 Godwits as it moved en masse around the sandspit. It was a fabulous sight to see! and we felt very privileged to witness them.
We also saw two Banded Dotterel (Tuturiwhatu) scampering over the sand, and later came across a nest of three Dotterel eggs. We had avoided walking in the dunes so as not to disturb possible nesting sites, but this nest was in a wide open beach section.
The spit is also home to common seabirds such as White Faced Herons (Matuku Moana), Pied and Variable Oystercatchers (Toreo and Toreo-Pango), and Black Shags (Kawau-Pu). Amongst the Godwits were also large quantities of Ruddy Turnstones, a common migratory wader.
It was a very hot day, so after arriving back at the cars we wandered over to the Motueka Marina coffee-cart for ice creams and iced coffees. It was a fitting laid-back ending to a fabulous day.
We were: Diane (Leader, Scribe and Head Twitcher), Paula W, Uta, Val, David, Julian, Miang and Helen.
PS - Later in the evening while looking at photos taken with my zoom lens of a group of about 50 Variable Oystercatchers, I saw a misfit stocky bird in their midst - I had unwittingly captured an image of a Caspian Tern (Taranui). What a bonus surprise!