Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

October 13, 2011

Ashburton Birds

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 3:23 am

Birds along the Ashburton River.

13th October 2011.

This morning I went to the Ashburton River just below the bridge that goes over the river at the town of Ashburton in the South Island of New Zealand. On a soccer oval next to the river, I found a few Song Thrush who were hopping around feeding on some worms. There were also some Blackbirds, Greenfinch and House Sparrows around as well.

Ashburton Birds video

When I went down to the river I saw a pair of Paradise Shelduck feeding amongst the rocks on the river bed. Not far away from them were a pair of Banded Dotterel and later on I saw lots more. I even saw an immature Banded Dotterel and I am sure I saw both male and females. The male has quite a brighter reddish chest band which stands out very strongly. There were a pair of Pied Oystercatchers behaving quite strangely and I got the impression that they were trying to lead me away from their nest but I could not be sure. There were also quite a few Pied Stilt on the river as well as a couple of Masked Lapwing and a solitary White-faced Heron.

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) is a common species introduced from Europe. This one was pecking around on the oval next to the river. They feed mostly on the ground, where it hops rather than walks. They are of the same family (Turdidae) as the Blackbird.

Banded Dotterel
Banded Dotterel

Banded Dotterel (Charadrius bicinctus) is called the Double-banded Plover in Australia (Is it a plover or a dotterel? ), and are endemic to New Zealand, some migrating to Australia. They breed on sandy beaches, shellbanks and riverbeds from July to January.

Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegata) are a common New Zealand Endemic. The male has a large black head and a dark grey body. The female has a white head and chestnut body. In flight they have prominent white patches on the upperwings. They are usually seen in pairs on pastures, ponds and shallow freshwater lakes throughout New Zealand.

Ashburton Bird List

Banded Dotterel
Pied Stilt
Paradise Shelduck
Pied Oystercatcher
Black-backed Gull
Masked Lapwing
White-faced Heron
Australian Magpie
Song Thrush
House Sparrow

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