Canterbury Big Year

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
andrewcrossland
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby andrewcrossland » Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:56 pm

Well, folks many of us have been hoping there'd be some good birds turn up for the final 2 months of the Canterbury big year but I'm sure no-one anticipated the flurry of first class birds that have been found in the last few weeks - Little Stint, Marsh Sand, Black-tailed Godwits, Hudsonian Godwits, Little Tern at Lake Ellesmere; Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Large Sand Plover, Little Egret at the Ashley Estuary.

Its hard to think of another period when the rare birds have lined up so well - maybe the summer of 1983/84 when we had that incredible assemblage of ruff, wilsons phalarope, 11 Black-tailed godwits, little whimbrel, 200+ Red-necked stints, etc at Lake Ellesmere, or back in the early 2000s when we had a run of Whiskered Tern, White-eyed Duck, Chestnut Teal and Chestnut-breasted Shelduck at the Bromley Oxidation Ponds. magic times!!

Along with the Kaikoura pelagic and Travis wetland, these are our most watched sites in Canterbury with visits by perhaps 1 to 5+ people per week, so many birds get seen. There are other sites with good reputations that deserve our attention too ofcourse (Avon-Heathcote estuary, Waipara rivermouth, Washdyke Lagoon, Lake Ki-Wainono; ) and also sites that never seem to get the attention they deserve (Brooklands lagoon, Upper Lyttelton Harbour, Lake Forsyth, Coopers Lagoon, Opihi Rivermouth and lagoons, and pelagics/sea-watches off other parts of the Canterbury coast), so it will be great to see if people can get around some of these sites over the rest of the year and see what is there waiting to be discovered?
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Adam C
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby Adam C » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:37 pm

Yes brooklands Lagoon seems another, close to home, A-grade spot in theory. Access a bit unknown to me but I'm sure once some effort is put in it can be worked out. Even viewing from the platform at Waikuku gives a good view of the top end. One I'd like to spend more time at anyway :)
“Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

Samuel Ullman
Andy Trowbridge
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby Andy Trowbridge » Sat Nov 23, 2019 6:47 pm

Adam C wrote:Hi all. noticed quite a few reported Bittern sightings in October at hearts creek. As this is one bird thats always avoided me where are people seeing them? In the Raupo around the track to the hide or out in front? I'm 99% sure I saw one flying over the far raupo from the hide last year but it was so distant I cant really count it. Could possibly have been a heron flying in in the low light. Anyway any tips for where to concentrate our search would be great. Love to get this one on my life list yet alone the Canterbury big year list :)

Adam


Adam

I've seen them fairly regularly at the mouth of Harts Creek (from the eastern bank), especially in late Sept.-Oct. Generally in the mornings and they are in flight.

Andy
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Adam C
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby Adam C » Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:35 pm

Ha! Mr Trowbridge! How the heck are you? You back in NZ? Need to catch up! And thanks! Got one booming last week down there but yet to actually get a visual.
“Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

Samuel Ullman
Andy Trowbridge
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby Andy Trowbridge » Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:13 am

Adam, yep back in NZ, been back for awhile now. Yep catch up sounds good.
andrewcrossland
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby andrewcrossland » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:08 pm

Hi folks, well we're now into the final 3 weeks of the Canterbury BIG YEAR now. Hopefully many of you will be out on Lake Ellesmere tomorrow helping out with the wader count - people often ask, or wonder out loud, how many of species x are on the lake, or is xyz number of a species a high count or not - well the only way to really keep tabs on that is by teaming up for a full lake census effort eh?

A couple of tips for those who still need Gannet or Reef Heron - I've seen Gannets this week at Amberley Beach, Upper Akaroa Harbour and Birdlings Flat, so they're back in our waters. There's also early Arctic Skuas about.

A Reef Heron put in an appearance amongst a flock of Canada Geese at Port Levy yesterday. At the mouth of the creek just before the village by the island.

Reef Heron.JPG
Reef Heron.JPG (84.63 KiB) Viewed 957 times
andrewcrossland
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby andrewcrossland » Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:29 pm

Hi folks, we're now into the last 3 weeks of the Canterbury big year and so far the challenge has seen over 16,000 views by people checking up on how things are progressing, 7391 ebird checklists submitted, and 167 species recorded in the Canterbury area (as defined by ebird).

Here are the stats (Canty is currently no 1 in NZ for both species recorded and checklists submitted)

ebird 3.JPG
ebird 3.JPG (56.55 KiB) Viewed 847 times


and as more people cross over the magic 100 mark there's good competition amongst those keen to see as many species as possible before midnight on 31 Dec.....


ebird1.JPG
ebird1.JPG (38.04 KiB) Viewed 847 times
andrewcrossland
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Location: Christchurch

Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby andrewcrossland » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:27 pm

Hi guys - a chance of a last minute big year tick - a probable Martin sp at the Bromley Oxidation Ponds this afternoon - in view of the Main Road. see post under sightings,
andrewcrossland
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Location: Christchurch

Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby andrewcrossland » Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:27 pm

Hi guys, a great effort and great results over the 2019 Canterbury BiG Year.

Congratulations to Niall and David Thomas for taking top spots! And congratulations to all those who got personal bests this year, saw some "lifers" and contributed to a pretty impressive collective effort to search for and find (a) loads of species - including some super rare ones; and (2) to contribute ebird surveys to the atlas project.

Thanks too to all those who posted on this topic and kept folks up-to-date with sightings, etc (this topic accrued over 17,800 views!)

Great work and I think others elsewhere in NZ will look at the list of species found here and certainly recognise that despite it not being positioned near the obvious migrant "traps" in the north or west of the country, and despite much of the province appearing devoid of indiegnous vegetation cover, its actually a pretty excellent place for birding..

I can't find a way to recover 2019 stats from ebird but here's the "all-time" species record comparison for the various NZ regions. Nice to be at the top spot after the year's hard work!

zz1.JPG
zz1.JPG (27.84 KiB) Viewed 574 times
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scaber
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby scaber » Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:00 pm

Greg Mckenzie

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