A birdwatching walk
Motueka Sandspit – Saturday 16 February 2019
Nine trampers met at Richmond Badminton Hall at 10am; soon sorted into two cars and off to Motueka Saltwater Baths to park and meet our tenth member. Low tide today was about 2pm. It was a very warm sunny day with a morning southerly breeze, changing to a northerly breeze before midday and then to a very strong, blustery northerly headwind.
We started walking by 10:40am, heading north along the coastal track with an 11:40am morning tea stop in bushy shade near the Staples Street carpark. The walking distance so far was about 4.5 km. We then backtracked along the coastal track a short way to a boardwalk onto the Motueka Spit and then walked in a southerly direction along the seaward edge of the spit for about 2km. A sudden rise of wind, thoughts of lunch and no real need to go much further encouraged movement up to a bit of shelter from the rising northerly wind amongst ‘ridgetop’ scrub. Total walking distance so far since we started was now 8km. We had a brief 20-minute lunch about 1pm, brief because the blustery strong wind was not pleasant.
By 1:20 we were walking back north again eventually to a spot 30 minutes later where we could cross a tidal lagoon back to the mainland coastal track without having to go all the way back to the original boardwalk. Then with a good brisk tailwind, and another 3km walk, we were back at the cars by 2:30pm.
During the day, we sighted a few oystercatchers, gulls (mature and young) and herons … but no ‘promised’ godwits or banded dotterels. Finally a pleasant stop at TOAD Hall for a well-deserved ice-cream/sorbet/gelato and home to Richmond. Total time from walk start to finish was four hours and the total estimated walking distance was 13km. We were – Ian, Lesley, Val, Odette, Grant, Robyn, Rochelle (almost new), Paul (new), Gail (guest) and Ken (scribe).