Muriwai Beach Patrol Results

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Ian McLean
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 2:29 pm

Muriwai Beach Patrol Results

Postby Ian McLean » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:38 pm

Hi there
Our Birds New Zealand beach Patrol of Muriwai Beach on Saturday 08 June was a busy one. We had very difficult conditions for the beach patrol, a strong 50kmph westerly wind, some heavy showers of rain, along with a white water sea of waves & foam.

We found a varied selection of birds as follows:-
1 Grey Headed Albatross (Initially thought to be a Buller's Albatross)
1 juvenile Northern Giant Petrel
1 Antarctic Fulmar
2 Buller’s Shearwaters
1 Little Shearwater (The Auckland Museum will check to see if they can determine the subspecies)
1 Antarctic Prion
1 Slender Billed Prion
1 Blackbird

Four birds (the Albatross, Giant Petrel, Fulmar & Little Shearwater) will be taken to the Auckland Museum as specimens. Attached are a few photos courtesy of Virginia Nicol & Trina Smith . Note that the Little Shearwater was the unfortunately the victim of pollution, as its wings were entangled in fishing line & one foot was severed. The windy conditions on Saturday & the few days prior had likely caused the demise of many of these birds.

When leaving the beach we saw a small all dark petrel (possibly a dark phased Soft Plumage Petrel) struggling against the wind & flying low over the sand ! The weather improved & the wind abated by Sunday, so hopefully the wind battered birds survived. Thanks to the five beach patrollers who braved the conditions.
Muriwai Beach -Giant Petrel.jpg
Ian McLean​ & Carmen Astudillo García​ find the Northern Giant Petrel.
Muriwai Beach -Giant Petrel.jpg (219.23 KiB) Viewed 598 times
little shearwater_fishing trace (8).JPG
The fishing line that caused the demise of the Little Shearwater, It was wrapped around both wings & had severed one of the bird's legs !
little shearwater_fishing trace (8).JPG (823.33 KiB) Viewed 598 times
little shearwater_antarctic fulmar_dorsal view (7).JPG
The Antarctic Fulmar at top, with the Little Shearwater below.
little shearwater_antarctic fulmar_dorsal view (7).JPG (808.67 KiB) Viewed 598 times
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Re: Muriwai Beach Patrol Results

Postby zarkov » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:44 am

Shearwaters have a habit of following baits down, and it's possible that Shearwater was accidentally hooked by a fisher and then cut loose. I've seen the rock fishermen by the Gannet colony do this, and once rescued a Gannet that was trapped in exactly that way, rather than tangled in waste fishing line.

It's certainly the fate of a lot of seabirds, particularly shags, caught by boaties in the Hauraki Gulf.
Ian McLean
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 2:29 pm

Re: Muriwai Beach Patrol Results

Postby Ian McLean » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:09 am

Hello Zarkov
The fishing line wrapped around the bird was very light & it looked to be the type of line that you would use with float to catch surface feeding fish like Piper. There was no hook on the line & I expect that the line had just been carelessly discarded by a recreational fisherman & the bird was caught up in it.

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