Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Largest glossy ibis sighting for 50 years at Foxton Beach

I was out walking the dog and luckily took my camera in case I saw the bittern. At the very same place that I saw the bittern fishing for the eel, I spotted some funny looking shags fly over. Anything that looks out of the ordinary attracts my attention so I took some photos and realised they were glossy ibis. They are infrequently seen at Foxton Beach and elsewhere in New Zealand but always in ones or twos. This number of birds has not been seen for decades. In fact, when I posted the sighting, people did not believe me. Good job for the photos.

I first saw the ibis after the tail end of cyclone Debbie from Australia hit the coast. You could assume they were blown over from the east coast but who knows? The birds are still here, 10 days later and feed and roost over the inaccessible land on the south side of the river. Makes it a bit tricky to photograph them but hopefully they will treat me to another fly by.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Further bittern sighting

This time I was more prepared and the sun was out. The bird is more skittish and I don't think it will be hanging around for people to look at it any more. Felt very privileged to get so close to such a rare bird.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Australasian Bittern moves in to Foxton Beach!

Australasian Bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus)
I am most ashamed to say that despite walking my dog along the estuary every morning and priding myself at being aware of the birds around, I had to be told that a bittern had moved in. Oh well, guess I can't be the first to spot every new bird. Is it a peculiarity of all birders that they are so competitive?

Anyway, the bird was first spotted on Friday the 30th March and has been feeding the reeds around high tide for the last couple of days. This morning, whilst walking my dog and paying more attention, I spotted it at low tide feeding in the creek. After rushing back (poor dog) to get my gear, I spent a couple of hours watching the bird as it moved up and down the creek and through the wetland. My patience was rewarded when, right in front of me, it dived into the mud and wrestled an eel. The eel wrapped itself around the bittern's neck and it took nearly half an hour for the bird to kill and eat it. Absolutely phenomenal!