Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekend Bridge: Omaha Shorebirds.

Seeing our most famous visitors to our country, the Godwits made my day.

I have to show the Godwits, in case you see them, and they tell you about meeting me in New Zealand. The Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) is a large wader in the family Scolopacidae, which breeds on Arctic coasts and tundra mainly in the Old World, and winters on coasts in temperate and tropical regions of the Old World.[2] It makes the longest known non-stop flight of any bird and also the longest journey without pausing to feed by any animal, 11,680 kilometres (7,258 mi) along a route from Alaska to New Zealand.[3]

The miles and miles of nettings protect the birds. ( actually I don't think the place is not very big), it is a figure of speech. And it seemed to be, because at the end of the walk, my leg was hurting. Men and Birds, there is a conflict of interest.

Oystercatchers nesting, I saw many couples with their babies.

Somewhere near the bridge, I could see the New Zealand dotterels, they were too small for me to photograph.

I had the most wonderful time yesterday. When my son and his friend went surfing, the water engineer took me for a long (2.2 Km) walk. Initially I was reluctant. I was happy to sit at the beach or park and take my photos. But because he was so enthusiastic as it was part of his work and resources for his lecture notes, I went with him.

The engineer spoke to an elderly gentleman. He is involved with the trust. He told him that the Godwits come here from Siberia. I wish I had spoken to him.

I did not regret the walk in the soft sand and climbing over rocks. In fact I had a million dollar experience, I saw 100s of black birds flying over head, NZ dotterels hiding in the sand dunes, and Oystercatchers showing off their babies. I was thinking of Eileen, Sylvia, and all my blogging friends who photograph birds. I asked a man fishing there what kind of flying birds they were, he told me it is Sea Lice, I don't think he understood me.

I wish I have a "zoom in zoom out" camera so I can show you the NZ dotterels which live only here in New Zealand.

I wrote to the Omaha Shorebird Protection Trust, and ask them what those flying firds are. I will be posting more photos.

By the way this Omaha is in New Zealand. Omaha Spit is located on the east coast of the North Island, about 60 km north of Auckland. The spit forms a barrier between the open sea and Whangateau Harbour, a relatively unspoilt tidal estuary.

The area is important for a range of native shorebirds, which feed on the estuary at low tide. Some of them, such as the threatened New Zealand dotterel and the variable oystercatcher, nest on Omaha Spit in significant numbers.

The society is very fast is replying. The birds are Godwits. Yippee, I have watched documentaries about them, and at last I see them.

Hello Ann,

The birds in your photograph are bar-tailed godwits, or kuaka. They are easily identified by their very distinctive beaks, which are clearly visible in your photo. We have a very large group (perhaps 600-700) that roost on the spit at Omaha at high tide from late spring to early autumn. They feed on the mudflats of the Whangateau harbour at low tide and rest on the spit for a few hours each high tide. Although the birds look black against the sky in your photo, they are in fact speckled brown. Towards the end of summer the godwits begin to develop their breeding plumage of dark orangy-red. This is a sign that they are preparing for their long migration back to the Northern hemisphere where they breed. You can find out more about these birds on line, for example at the following address.

In some cities in NZ the godwits are formally welcomed back to NZ in spring. It would be nice to have a similar ceremony for our Omaha godwits. They are sight faithful, with the same birds returning to the same feeding grounds year after year.

Best wishes,
Marie Ward
OSPT shorebird monitor


Cheryl said...

Looks like a great place to talk a walk and to see such an assortment of birds.

Martha Z said...

We saw the dotterels when we were in New Zealand. I had to look up where it was, Opoutere Reserve. It was a beautiful place.

Ginny Hartzler said...

I would have just loved being with you, because we are birdwatchers! What a wonderful day!

Louis la Vache said...

Fascinating post, Ann, and a welcome contribution to Sunday Bridges. You are one of «Louis'» most faithful contributors to this meme and he appreciates it!

eileeninmd said...

Ann, a wonderful post on your bird sightings and walk. I am going to google the NZ Dotterels, so I can see what they look like. Now I am going to make you into an offical birder. Great photos.

The JR said...

Looks peaceful.