Saturday, 23 September 2017

Godwits have returned!

It is a time of celebration in New Zealand, when the bar-tailed godwits return. It is a sign of spring. Arriving in September, the count at Foxton Beach increased this week from the half dozen over-wintering birds to 120+. The godwits are incredible birds, not only for their magnificent bills but also for their endurance flight from the northern hemisphere. They hold the record for the longest non-stop journey of any non sea bird. Whilst in New Zealand, their body weight will double. They leave us in March, giving a glimpse of their breeding plumage before departing. The female bird is considerably larger than the male with a proportionately larger bill as well. You can see that clearly in my first image.


Bar-tailed Godwit (limosa lapponica)

The birds wander the shoreline digging for food or rest in groups. I like to watch them as the tide comes in, pushing them up the beach often on one leg. They also have the ability to bend the top part of their bill which makes them look very odd.




Saturday, 2 September 2017

Garden Birds in Foxton Beach

Winter is a great time for garden and bush birds. They gather in groups on the berms, colour up looking for partners and come into the gardens in search of food. This is the only time I get a good look at greenfinch and the silvereye come to my bird table in the dozen. They are still little swines though. Even though I have my window open and my lens propped up with everything covered, they still know I am there and only put on their best displays when I have closed up shop! However, this winter has brought a bonus. I have discovered a group of redpoll that frequent an area very close to where I live. I have previously only seen them in real country areas. It has its downside though, I get lots of funny looks stalking them with a huge lens in the township streets!


Greenfinch (carduelis chloris)

Silvereye (zosterops lateralis)

Sacred Kingfisher (todiramphus sanctus)

Eurasian Skylark (alauda arvensis)

Song Thrush (turdus philomelos)

Common Redpoll (carduelis flammea)