Common Sandpiper sightings

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Michael Szabo
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Common Sandpiper sightings

Postby Michael Szabo » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:11 am

A Common Sandpiper was seen at Waipu on 24 December.

Link to photo taken by the Department of Conservation: https://scontent.fpmr1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/ ... e=5E9326CC

I have been told second-hand that one was seen at Omaha in October. Given the proximity of these two sites on the east coast of Northland it seems plausible that it could have been the same bird and that it may still be in the vicinity.
Last edited by Michael Szabo on Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Oscar Thomas
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Re: Common Sandpiper sightings

Postby Oscar Thomas » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:30 am

I discovered the Omaha report on eBird last night after checking to see if the Waipu one had been reported since and was surprised to see that Gwenda Pulham had one at Omaha an entire two months earlier! It’s a real shame she chose not to share it anywhere except eBird. https://ebird.org/atlasnz/checklist/S61968789
https://www.instagram.com/oscarkokako/ - NZ List (208) Terek Sandpiper, Manukau
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sav
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Re: Common Sandpiper sightings

Postby sav » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:09 pm

Hi all,

Its a great shame that "suppression by neglect" is still so common in NZ - after all webirders are a very small community. Thanks Michael and Oscar for trawling through reports to find these gems.

What interests me is the photo of the Common Sand, which was taken from the seaward side of Waipu Estuary, presumably right next to a Fairy Tern nest. I do hope that it was taken by a DOC person or a volunteer!!

cheers
Sav Saville
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Michael Szabo
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Re: Common Sandpiper sightings

Postby Michael Szabo » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:37 am

I have now seen an eBird checklist that recorded the one seen at Omaha on 19th October by Gwenda Pulham:
https://ebird.org/atlasnz/checklist/S61 ... hhRbeKKb_c
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David Lawrie
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Re: Common Sandpiper sightings

Postby David Lawrie » Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:36 pm

I am disappointed at the comments about possible suppression of sightings.
there are two main reasons to minimize publicity about sightings.
one is to protect vulnerable stages of life cycles, and the Omaha sighting is a good example. the bird was seen adjacent to a Fairy Tern nest as can be seen in the recent photos. so numbers of people looking could have had a detrimental effect.
The other reason is because of access issues and the South Manukau roost is a good example. While the landowner is currently granting access if asked, he did contact me yesterday saying that he was concerned at the numbers currently asking.
so while it may seem unreasonable the limits are not for selfish reasons, they are to protect the current rights into the future.
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Oscar Thomas
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Re: Common Sandpiper sightings

Postby Oscar Thomas » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:12 pm

Omaha bird was not seen with Fairy Terns, that was at Waipu two months later.
https://www.instagram.com/oscarkokako/ - NZ List (208) Terek Sandpiper, Manukau
Davidthomas
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Re: Common Sandpiper sightings

Postby Davidthomas » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:21 pm

David Lawrie wrote:I am disappointed at the comments about possible suppression of sightings.
there are two main reasons to minimize publicity about sightings.
one is to protect vulnerable stages of life cycles, and the Omaha sighting is a good example. the bird was seen adjacent to a Fairy Tern nest as can be seen in the recent photos. so numbers of people looking could have had a detrimental effect.
The other reason is because of access issues and the South Manukau roost is a good example. While the landowner is currently granting access if asked, he did contact me yesterday saying that he was concerned at the numbers currently asking.
so while it may seem unreasonable the limits are not for selfish reasons, they are to protect the current rights into the future.


EDIT: Upon reflection I feel my comments aren’t conducive to encouraging people to report said sightings and thus I’ve edited it to be more clear about what I hope would happen and be more constructive rather than frustrated.

The Manukau situation I can completely understand, it’s across private land and is fraught with access issues in the past and we don’t want that to be the future. Which is why I and many others appreciate you getting organised groups together whenever anything special shows up.

I do however feel that there are so few birders within New Zealand let alone those that visit the premier shorebird sights that it sucks when you find out well after the fact that something you’d love to see has been seen. I think that a great many of us really try hard to ensure our sightings are shared with all those who are interested as ultimately that’s why we all do it right to watch birds? And personally I derive a lot of satisfaction from others seeing birds that I’ve found. I appreciate this isn’t the same for everyone but I hope that if you see a UBR worthy bird that regardless of your personal opinions you should see that as something worth sharing. Particularly frustrating when you visit a site that has had something rare that you’re unaware of.

Part of the issue with this sighting I guess lies with ebird not flagging it as a rare bird which prevented the information getting out til sooner. I guess my hope with this post is that people appreciate how exciting other people find their sightings and it encourages them to share them in the future.
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RussCannings
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Re: Common Sandpiper sightings

Postby RussCannings » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:55 am

Let's not forget what is most important here folks--the birds. And while I'm as disappointed as anyone to miss out on a rare bird in my local area, I can't expect everyone to have the same attitude about publicizing vagrants as I do. In other words, you can't force anyone to change their ways through passive-aggressive posts on a listserve.

I also think 'suppression' is a bit much, as to me that's generally reserved for overly competitive twitchers who deliberately withhold information so that their rivals can't have the same experience they did. In these recent cases, information was disseminated on ebird as well as other platforms freely, and most shorebird species discussed above (Excluding Common Sandpiper) are annual in NZ and so anyone keen enough to get upset about missing one should just chill out and spend a few days in the field. If I recall correctly, Gwenda P found the Kaipara Buff-breasted Sand and got the word out almost immediately.

I realise it's natural to get frustrated about these things (I feel it too), but I think we're all better off worrying about the birds themselves first, then reaching out politely to individuals if we have any other concerns.

Steady bins,

Russ
Last edited by RussCannings on Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ian Southey
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Re: Common Sandpiper sightings

Postby Ian Southey » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:02 am

There's a couple of issues here.

On the one hand birding is a personal pleasure and I don't see why people can't be free to pursue it in any way that suits them - provided it does not harm the birds of course. We like records to be kept, it tells us lots of interesting and useful things and it is a strength of Birds NZ that they provide people with good ways to do this, if they choose, and to bird for the greater good. The twitching community is smaller and I don't see how telling people off is going to grow it. As a periodic twitcher and a user of this forum I do feel an obligation to report birds of interest in a timely way. The few I have not passed on have only been due to a lack of permission from the actual observer and I will not put anything on any public forum without knowing that it is OK to do so.

Bear in mind also that with an ageing population of birders, some people are on the other side of the digital divide and don't have the ability to join in this kind of forum. This is where the Common Sandpiper sightings fall. Incidentally Omaha and Waipu are both very good birding spots and other people should be finding this bird too rather than getting angry at Gwenda or DOC. The fact that it hasn't been reported previously suggests that the bird is moving around mostly in places people don't bird or that the rest of us are not much good at what we do.

Ian

N.B. It is easy to underestimate the threats to Fairy Terns. This season there have not actually been enough volunteers to watch all of the nests all of the time, even most of the time. I thought the days of people actually standing on eggs and chicks had passed, but having had occasion to look over recent rangers reports I see that this is perhaps more by good luck than good management. Of course the real risk nowadays is the more subtle risk of disturbance and that is where harm could most likely be done. Please recall - Fairy Terns are New Zealand's rarest endemic bird by far and have a declining population at present so please grant them a little extra respect.
Pat Miller
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Re: Common Sandpiper sightings

Postby Pat Miller » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:20 am

Chill out folks! Whoever finds a bird has the total right to report it or not. And if they do report it, on whatever forum they like or have access to. Forums like this and eBird have the potential to get lots of people visiting a site to see a rare bird and if you like your birding spots relatively secluded and not overrun with twitchers, or think people should just find things for themselves, then why would someone report anything on a public forum? On the other hand, probably most people would have no problem telling an interested individual they were actually face to face with about a rarity in their area (though they might muzzle them from further dissemination).

Birding is our hobby and whether someone misses out on seeing a rarity because they didn't know about it is not really our concern. Most people don't care how long YOUR life list is, or NZ list or whatever list.

I agree with most of what David Lawrie, Ian and Russ said above, except I wouldn't feel any obligation to report anything Ian, I see it more as a favour to people with an interest in birds and entirely voluntary.

Pat

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