A pleasant surprise yesterday evening at Jock's Roost.
Please note, this is a very sensitive location and not really conducive to twitching unfortunately for several reasons;
1. The relationship with the neighbouring landowner is delicate and an essential one to maintain for both local birdsNZ and DOC, particularly for the latter in respect to the Spartina eradication program which is vital for the health of this RAMSAR site.
2. It's the most important wader roost in the estuary and very tricky to watch without causing disturbance.
3. Given the first factor access is arduous; 4km round trip by kayak was our chosen method yesterday, and that's easier than other routes trialled.
Found the bird late on, approx 1955 in good evening light, A mobile group of PGPs had flown back on to the roost (basically an area of saltmarsh and mudflats that forms a number of islands at high tide), and the bird may have come in with them. First thing that drew my attention was the extraordinary pigeon-like walking gait, head bobbing with each forward step. Watched for c30 minutes, never close, some 'proof of life' record shots attached (one darkened a little due to over-exposure). Key field characters seen include;
Head and face pattern; dark crown, pale central stripe, pale supercilium and lores, dark eye stripe,
Short decurved bill, only slightly longer than head with obvious pink base to lower mandible,
Whitish, unmarked underparts, sandy breast, darker upperparts.
Long, strikingly pale grey legs.
Small head, long body and legs gave distinctive shape, a tiny curlew when seen in company of familiar waders.
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well done Sean another great find!
- Michael Szabo
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Sean Jacques reports the Little Whimbrel was present today at the New River Estuary Shellbanks in Invercargill.
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Gave the shell banks a good scan yesterday Avro. No sign of the little whimbrel but good to see 5 species of tern including 3 little and 1 white-winged black.