Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

October 31, 2011

Invercargill Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 4:43 am

Birds of Invercargill.

The weather this morning is cold and blustery. I think the temperature is not going to get above 7 degrees Celsius. There are not many birds about so I have been really disappointed. The estuaries around Invercargill in the South Island of New Zealand are prime habitat for waders, but there is nothing around. What is going on? Maybe they have not arrived from Siberia yet, or they are still up the North Island around the Firth of Thames.

Oreti River estuary

The first stop off was the Sandy Point Domain which is about 7 kilometers west of Invercargill. It has a good walking track along the estuary edge with its unusual fringe of totara dune forst. I did happen to see a few Royal Spoonbills and some White-faced Heron. The waders that do come here will eventually feed on an abundant supply of worms and shellfish.

After that, I headed to the Bushy Point Fernbird Walk, but did not see any Fernbirds. This is a 600 meter track and boardwalk that goes through mature podocarp forest, shrubland to a coastal wetland meadow of jointed rush and estuarine mud-flats. The estuary is fringed by salt marsh and Jointed Wire Rush dominates the tidal zone which gives way to coastal scrub including cabbage tree, manuka and flax. Birds often seen in the vicinity include Tui, Fernbird, Little Shag and Black Shag. South of here lies remnants of kahikatea, matai and rimu trees, a reminder of the original podocarp forst that once covered much of the area.

The Invercargill Estuary Walkway is very close to town on the eastern bank of the New River Estuary. The long walk starts from the historic Stead Street wharf. Recent reclamation has led to the creation of a circular walking and cycling track.

Invercargill Bird List

Masked Lapwing
Australian Magpie
Royal Spoonbill
Song Thrush
White-faced Heron
Black-backed Gull
Paradise Shelduck

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