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Bird Group

I am no expert on local Bird matter but here are a few observations:

Black Swans on the Tauranga Harbour.
Large flocks are to be seen on the harbour. They are known to migrate between the Harbour and Rotorua and Waikato Lakes. Claims that there are around 7000 swans are doubtful as that figure has been around for a number of years. Observers claim that numbers are increasing and it certainly seems so. A culling swan drive was held early in the year.

A PHD student is currently investigating how swan grazing on seagrass beds impacts the hydrodynamics and sediment transports in the sea grass beds which may lead to a loss of seagrass beds where heavy grazing occurs.

Canadian Geese are also increasing with their damage occurring on land through grazing pasture in Tauranga, particularly Carmichael Reserve which has a large number.

On the positive side the number of Kaka are increasing. It is believed that with Mayor (Tuhua) Island being predator free now and migration between there and the Kaimai, Kaka are increasing. They are spending some of the winter time here certainly in the rural area. We observe them flying over our farm and roosting in the larger trees. I observed a flock of 12 Kaka on our farm.

It would be great if we had an ornithologist reporting to OEMI.

Norm Bruning

During October took children from Point School to viewing platform where we saw 10 different species of birds, tide not really suitable for viewing. A good place to show youngsters birds and hopefully to get some interested in the birds in Omokoroa.

During November on a walk between Beach Grove and the boardwalk at Tinapai (Cooney Reserve) we saw 2,500 Godwits (estimate), South Island Oyster Catcher, Variable Oyster Catcher, Fantail, Yellow Hammer, Heron, Blackbird, Thrush, Starling, Sparrow, Silver Eye, Tui, Pukeko, Welcome Swallow, Magpie, Black Backed Gull, Black Swan, Mallard Duck, Paradise Duck. Also heard but did not see barbary Dove, Shining Cuckoo, Chaffinch, Pheasant, Grey Warbler. A fantastic number of birds heard and seen on one little walk.

The White Tui was seen in Whakamarama again when the Kowhai were in flower. Yellow Hammer and Chaffinch have been hear and seen more often than usual during our walks. Great to see. Heard Shining Cuckoo but found them very difficult to see. Spotted Dove seen quite often in the area around the Country Estate vegetable gardens. Mallard and Paradise Ducks were seen with their chicks. Banded rail seen both in Cooney and the estuary on the golf course with their babies, some of the chicks were getting quite large, so hopefully the number of these will increase. Many Godwits seen feeding out from Precious Reserve.

The NZ Dotterel laid two clutches of eggs at Peach Point, the first washed away by a high tide and the second the three eggs just disappeared, perhaps Black Backed Gulls or other predators. Variable Oyster Catchers also laid two lots of eggs on the spit at Cooney, not sure what happened to the first clutch but the second, once again, washed away by a high tide. A very unsuccessful breeding season for these birds. For a bird watcher very disappointing.

Allan & Wendy

Took part in a National Wader Count on Saturday, birds of interest were 4x New Zealand Dotterel (1x at Peach Point 3x at Cooney), 35 Banded Dotterel and 164 Godwits on the Tinopai Sandbar.

It would appear that some of our birds have got their seasons mixed up (or perhaps it is the lovely weather we have had), late March sited a Mallard Duck with 6 chicks at Peach Point, saw them again early April spread all over the No.8 fairway. They had obviously found their legs and were well away from mother. Early May a pair of Plovers had 3 chicks in Precious Reserve. Some of the N.Z. Dotterel we have seen are in breeding colours. Will keep an eye on them in case they breed early.

We saw a Pheasant in Cooney Reserve, on the same day a small shark in Cooney lagoon - not a bird but interesting just the same. We have seen and heard Fernbirds in Cooney between the boardwalk and the viewing platform.

For those who are interested there are two Black Fronted Dotterel at Athenree Wetlands. Suggest you take your gumboots if going for a look.

Mid May there were 9 Royal Spoonbills on Tinopai Sandbar (thanks Murray), we had seen them earlier well out to sea the tide must have pushed them onto the sandbar. A great sight from the back of Murray’s house.

9 Royal Spoonbills on Tinopai sandbar May 2016

A very quiet time in the birding world, although the godwits should be arriving back on our shores in a week or two.

The bird signs were all cleaned this week.

On a trip to Katikati saw 30 spoonbills.

56 Little Black Shags rounding up fish off Precious Reserve.

16 Californian Quail on new walkway at the end of Western Avenue.

There were 2 NZ Dotterel (in breeding colours) at Cooney Reserve. Were hoping they would breed there but have seen dogs on the beach along with a horse and they appear to have disappeared.

2 NZ Dotterel at Peach Point (in breeding colours). Perhaps these birds will have more luck, although on the last two visits have not sited them.

In August 1298 godwits on Tinapai Sandbar.

Murray’s mysterious birds: A pair seen walking across lawn. About the size of a quail or large dove. Black fairly long beak. Greyish brown top. Light brown underneath. One quite a bit redder than other (breeding colours?). As they flew off their wings had a white banc at the end with black tips. Any ideas?

During the last month the new Cooney sign has been purchased and erected. Many thanks to Ian Loten for the work he put in removing the old and fitting the new sign.

N.Z. Dotterels nested in late November (very late), two eggs, one egg disappeared in early January, the second a week later. No chicks this year.

This year our overseas waders appeared to be low in numbers, would be interested to hear if anybody else has noticed this. Normally on Tinopai Sandbar, in the first week of March there about 5,000 plus godwits, this year the most we counted 2,000 plus.  (Others counted approx 4000 for a few days.)

We have seen Fernbirds in Cooney Reserve and Peach Point, we have not seen or heard any for a number of years. Also at these two sites we have seen Banded Rail and Chicks.

Last month in Omokoroa we saw baby tui, fantail, goldfinch, kingfisher, and Pied Stilts.

Saw a Myna in a group and noticed one had an orange head, have been informed that occasionally Mynas moult for a couple of weeks then the feathers grow again.

A&W Fox