RFI: Nelson/Marlborough Birding

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.
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RussCannings
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RFI: Nelson/Marlborough Birding

Postby RussCannings » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:23 pm

Hi all,

I'm hoping to be in the top of the South Island for some school-related business around Feb 25 and would like to take the weekend of Feb 23/24 to "just bird" with a particular emphasis on shorebirds and waterfowl.

I've been through this area a fair few times but almost always in passing so if anyone from the area or with some good prior knowledge could help with some of the following queries it would be much appreciated! (And I'm sure others will find it useful too).

1. Motueka/Mapua/Nelson waders roosts--It looks like that Sunday will be quite a big tide. Is there anything I should know about birding this area in terms of specific roost sites and tide times? Any tips on rising/falling tides also appreciated.

2. Are there any places worth checking (e.g. Bell Island) that require prior access arrangements--and if so--what do I do?

3. Is Cable Bay worth a visit (other than obvious historical and scenic considerations) from a wader standpoint?

4. Havelock/Pelorus estuary--What tide state is best here and where is the best place to view wader flocks?

5. Wairau Estuary/Lagoons--I've only ever popped into the sewage ponds briefly here. Where are the high tide roosts in this area? Is it worth going to the north side of the river as well? Any other extra birding tips or recent sightings?

6. Wood Duck/HH Grebe private dams--If anyone has any contacts of locals with private dams/ponds where either of these species have been seen in their respective areas (and they are happy for visitors), please let me know.

I think that's about it--will report back of course! Thanks in advance :D

Russ Cannings
Morrinsville, NZ
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GKincaid
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Re: RFI: Nelson/Marlborough Birding

Postby GKincaid » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:37 am

Hello Russ - There is a good roosting spot on the Wairau Lagoon approx 20 min walk past the sewage ponds. Just the other day Patrick Crowe found a Whimbrel there. In the last year there have also been Little Tern, Curlew, and other goodies seen - mostly when I am out of town of course! A spotting scope is essential. I would be happy to join you for an outing there. Of course there is Lake Grassmere as well but this may be a bit too far away given a limited amount of time.

Cheers,
Glenn Kincaid
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kengeorge
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Re: RFI: Nelson/Marlborough Birding

Postby kengeorge » Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:02 am

The Nelson branch of the OSNZ are planning their summer wader census that weekend, teams going out all over the place. You could probably even get a seat with the team that goes right out to the end of Farewell Spit and overnights at the lighthouse DOC houses. Let me know if you want the organisers contact details.
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RussCannings
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Re: RFI: Nelson/Marlborough Birding

Postby RussCannings » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:31 pm

GKincaid wrote:Hello Russ - There is a good roosting spot on the Wairau Lagoon approx 20 min walk past the sewage ponds. Just the other day Patrick Crowe found a Whimbrel there. In the last year there have also been Little Tern, Curlew, and other goodies seen - mostly when I am out of town of course! A spotting scope is essential. I would be happy to join you for an outing there. Of course there is Lake Grassmere as well but this may be a bit too far away given a limited amount of time.
.

That is very helpful Glenn--thank you. I'll send you a PM about possibly meeting up. (And yes I do plan to visit Grassmere as well as Elterwater on the Sunday.

kengeorge wrote:The Nelson branch of the OSNZ are planning their summer wader census that weekend, teams going out all over the place. You could probably even get a seat with the team that goes right out to the end of Farewell Spit and overnights at the lighthouse DOC houses.Let me know if you want the organisers contact details.


Arg--I've always wanted to get out there but I think it might just be a bit much heading out and back (as I'm not entirely sure when I arrive into the area on Saturday). Might be more realistic for me to coordinate with some of the locations closer to Nelson. Will email you about this Ken. Thanks for the awesome offer.

Russ
Jim_j
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Re: RFI: Nelson/Marlborough Birding

Postby Jim_j » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:50 pm

Not to much in the way of birdlife around Cable Bay although Paemata Flats close by has fernbird and banded rail and probably Marsh Crake.
The sewage ponds on Boulder Bank drive are usually productive for waterfowl including crake - at high tide waders in the nelson haven roost along the flats at the top and bottom of the road.
If you don't mind a drive up a steep hairy road .... then go up Graham Valley road to Flora Saddle - good range of bush birds incl whio and GSK calling if you stay the night in the Mt Arthur Hut.
I imagine you will need permission to get to Bells Island I'm not living in Nelson anymore but if you can contact someone in Nelson OSNZ they might be able to help.
I think?? Linkwater might be the best place re Havelock/Pelorus.
You can probably pick up what you need for Wood duck from previous posts on this site
Cheers Jim
Steve Wood
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Re: RFI: Nelson/Marlborough Birding

Postby Steve Wood » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:13 pm

Hi Russ,
As Ken said, the weekend you have chosen corresponds with the wader count so I will be in Golden bay Friday- Sunday so unfortunately I wont be about other wise we could have done Mot spit if you wished.
To do Mot Spit I usually go 1.5 -2 hrs before High-tide which gives you a chance to see the birds on the tidal flats (pre roost) the inner mud flats closest to town, where they usually gather before moving to the spit itself.I try to aim to cross over the inlet near the Golf course. There is a small lay by/ car park area adjacent to where I cross and if you time it early enough you can cross the mud flats before the tide comes in and make your walk a little shorter rather than starting right at the beginning from Staple st entrance.The best bit is the middle to end bird wise.You cant miss the roosting waders, the spit is quite narrow.
I plan to go this weekend so will have an up date but you are still a few weeks away so wont be that current.
Nelson poo ponds is highly recommended, especially with this big dry on at the moment. Hope to get there also this week end. Cant really go wrong there just follow your nose, most of it is extremely user friendly.
Bell's Island can also be good but like every other poo pond I know, this typically, is not user friendly and you need keys and some help to access this area properly.
I would suggest Mot spit , Nelson Poo ponds, and try the usual Wood duck places. As you know they can be quite mobile at times and frustratingly difficult to pin down.
Keep in touch if I can help with anything else. - Should be a good weekend to look forward to.
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RussCannings
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Re: RFI: Nelson/Marlborough Birding

Postby RussCannings » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:58 pm

Thanks Jim and Steve, more great stuff.

I have spent one rainy night up Mt Arthur "back in the day" (2008) as a student and loved it up there so may just give it a go depending on the weather, how ambitious I'm feeling, and my rental car's clearance ;)
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zarkov
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Re: RFI: Nelson/Marlborough Birding

Postby zarkov » Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:43 pm

I'm a big fan of Golden Bay for bird related stuff, especially the Collingwood tidal/Farewell Spit area.

If you haven't been to the Spit, it's worth a special trip.

It's a wonderful place.
Bill F Cash
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Re: RFI: Nelson/Marlborough Birding

Postby Bill F Cash » Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:27 pm

HI ,
Just returned from a morning visit to Havelock. You need to be there on the high tide, the higher the better. There is a wader roost on the other side of the mole . Today there were over 300 SIPO and 32 Band Dot plus 5 BT Godwit. To access the mole turn down by the Hotel and go right at the bottom take that road right around to the end which I think is actually Rangitane Dr. Park car at end on the right hand side is a high fence( right handsome) just go round the end and on to the formed track which takes you to the very end of the Mole where the wader roost is, about a 1km walk.
If you want a challenge while you are in Havelock checkout the band combos on the Black Billed Gulls usually at high tide they are on Pier "H". Also take a close look at the Caspian Terns some of them are banded as well.
Cheers Bill
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RussCannings
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Re: RFI: Nelson/Marlborough Birding

Postby RussCannings » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:05 am

Thanks Bill, much appreciated. And to zarkov, love the Golden Bay area (have been several times), but unfortunately won't have time on this trip so will focus on Nelson and Blenheim areas.

Russ

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