Blue petrel found on a Muriwai Beach Patrol

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Ian McLean
Posts: 169
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 2:29 pm

Blue petrel found on a Muriwai Beach Patrol

Postby Ian McLean » Mon Jul 18, 2022 10:11 pm

Kia ora
My apologies for the delayed advice, but we found a beach wrecked blue petrel & an interesting selection of other seabirds during our Birds New Zealand beach patrol on Saturday 09 July.

A quick summary of the birds found is as follows:-
6 little penguin
1 grey-faced petrel
1 blue petrel
1 Antarctic Prion
3 fairy prion
1 Hutton's shearwater
10 fluttering shearwater
1 little shearwater
2 Australasian gannet (one was hooked & tangled in fishing line)
2 pied shag (both appear to have been shot)

A varied selection of birds (10 species) & a relatively large number (28 birds), considering we only walked the northern section of approx 5 km of our patrol area. With recent stormy weather, it would be great for further beach patrols to be undertaken along the west coast.

The bodies of the two pied shags were found approx 2km north of the Rimmer Road carpark & were found less than 20 metres away from each other. Quick inspections of the two bodies found that one had a badly broken wing & a wound in the thigh area, whilst the other bird had blood coming out of its bill & likely had a chest wound. All of the fatal injuries looked to be consistent with being shot with a shotgun, whilst a used shotgun cartridge was found nearby. I currently have the bodies of both shags in the freezer & have advised DOC, the Auckland Council & Ngati Whatua o Kaipara (the owners of Woodhill Forest) about them.

We have had reports of people parking up their 4WD along the beach & blasting away at any birds that fly past. As pied shags often fly parallel with the beach they are likely common victims of this pathetic vandalism. I expect that other species with a similar habit of flying along the beach such as Caspian terns & variable oystercatchers could also be shot as well ?

Attached are a few photos of the blue petrel & our beach patrollers in action.

Cheers
Ian McLean
Muriwai Beach Blue Petrel by Sharon Kast.jpg
Compared to the prions, the blue petrel with longer wings & the white tip to the tail.
Muriwai Beach Blue Petrel by Sharon Kast.jpg (142.05 KiB) Viewed 318 times
Muriwai Beach Sharon Kaast b.jpg
Putting the ute to good use. Dion Pou (left) & Ian McLean survey the fluttering shearwaters.
Muriwai Beach Sharon Kaast b.jpg (155.42 KiB) Viewed 318 times
Muriwai Blue Petrel b.jpg
The blue petrel showing the distinctive white tip to the tail.
Muriwai Blue Petrel b.jpg (524.27 KiB) Viewed 318 times
Last edited by Ian McLean on Tue Jul 19, 2022 9:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
Ian McLean
Posts: 169
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 2:29 pm

Re: Blue petrel found on a Muriwai Beach Patrol

Postby Ian McLean » Mon Jul 18, 2022 10:25 pm

Attached are a few additional pictures of our beach patrolling & of the two pied shags that are suspected to have been shot.
Muriwai Beach Sharon Kaast a.jpg
Dion Pou (centre) measures the culmen of the Hutton's shearwater.
Muriwai Beach Sharon Kaast a.jpg (113.16 KiB) Viewed 309 times
Muriwai Pied Shag a.jpg
The two pied shags. The left wing of the lower bird has been badly broken.
Muriwai Pied Shag a.jpg (598.38 KiB) Viewed 309 times
Muriwai Pied Shag c.jpg
The blood coming out of the bill is the likely result of a shot to the lungs.
Muriwai Pied Shag c.jpg (463.85 KiB) Viewed 309 times

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