Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

November 11, 2011

Christchurch Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 4:21 am

The Groynes.

This morning I went to the Groynes, which is a reserve just over the road from where I am staying in Christchurch. There are lots of picnic areas and ponds which has a number of creeks flowing into them. There were heaps of Mallards in the ponds, and they congregated towards the kids who came down to the water to feed the duckies.


The Groynes video

The Groynes Reserve is just off Johns Road, which is also State Highway 1, heading towards the airport. The reserve follows the Otukaikino River and the walking track is called the Waimairi Walkway. As well as the waterbirds in the ponds and creeks, the waterways are also home to trout and other fish, so it quite a popular spot for young kids who like to fish.

I got some good footage of some Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra ). The Australian and New Zealand subspecies, Fulica atra australis is called the Australian Coot here in New Zealand. Ironically, it is called the Eurasian Coot in Australia. These came quite close to me and I think they were almost tame because of the constant exposure to picnickers. It is a very popular spot for the local Christchurch people. The coots had a few really ugly chicks following them around. The parents would dive down to get some food and then feed the chicks. Wikipedia says that Coots can be very brutal to their young when there are pressures such as lack of food. They will bite young until they stop begging, who then starve to death. The young are also commonly prey for birds like herons and gulls.

I even got a lot closer to the New Zealand Scaups than I have before. They were not skittish like they usually are. They are a diving duck and can stay down for 20 or 30 seconds and can go to depths of up to 3 meters to feed on plants, fish, snails, mussels and insects.

A strange site for me was a California Quail stanging up on the railing of a bridge. It was just standing up there on one leg. I have no idea what he was up to. I only did about half the walk around the ponds. I am going to leave the other half for another day. The long loop is 5 kilometers long and follows the riverbank through farmland to an old orchard on the way back.

The Groynes Bird List

Eurasian Coot
New Zealand Scaup
Mallard
Canada Goose
Pukeko
Starling
Goldfinch
Black Swan
Welcome Swallow
Song Thrush
Blackbird
Chaffinch
California Quail
New Zealand Fantail

1 Comment »

  1. 2 days later I went for another walk to the groynes and saw a New Zealand Fantail. There were some more chicks with a pair of Eurasian Coots. I also found a Mallard duckling that had a fish hook in its mouth. Its mother was freaking out, paddling back and forth and crying. I tried to get the hook out but could not. I asked a kid who was going fishing to bring his knife, and he cut the fishing line and let the duckling escape. I have no idea if it will survive or not. It was a bit upsetting.

    Comment by admin — November 12, 2011 @ 7:43 am

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