|Royal Spoonbill having a bad crest day|
The Wairau Bar is an important archeological area, as remains of some of the earliest known Maori settlements were discovered there in 1939 by a 13 year old boy.
If this place sounds familiar, it's because it's one of the first places we visited with home-exchanger Mick the day he picked us up from the airport. We saw our first shags and harriers that day and we were very interested in returning to this spot to see shags and other shore and wading birds.
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During this outing, Susan conducted two separate stationary bird species counts for eBird. Afterwards, we walked around a lot at some mud flats nearby, watching the birds and joining them in fighting the wind that is apparently common here this time of year.
We were surprised to see so many New Zealand Kingfishers at both spots! They are beautiful little birds and we enjoy watching them and trying to get a good photo of them.
As we were leaving, we were surprised and amused to see a large family of California Quail scurrying across the road in front of us -- they do look funny when they run. This quail is one of many species introduced here and is evidently thriving.
On the way out we also saw a new species to us, the Welcome Swallow.
After we got home and started making notes about the birds we saw, we realized we were having trouble keeping track of the 7 different kinds of shags (cormorants) seen in New Zealand. We literally spent about two hours building a spreadsheet cross-referencing local shag names with international cormorant names and their Latin names. We'll post some of that info with pictures later.
We're a little behind in our blogging and picture posting -- there's a lot to see and do here and it's keeping us busy!
Here's a map of the Wairau Bar area.
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