Yesterday my father and I went whizzing around the coast of Tasman and at my house to find as many species as we could in 24 hours as part of a nationwide birdathon!
The Birdathon is a fun national event to get people to go out and try to see birds, as many as possible! Of course, there is a competitive element too, you can try and beat everyone else records, on either a regional or countrywide scale! No-one had said anything about having a record for any of Top of the South, so that gave us an advantage, though nothing to boast about when we “set the record”.
We decided to try just doing the Tasman region, so no Nelson Sewage Ponds or Wairau River for us. Our first stop was Marahau, but we heard some birds at home before we set off, including Long-Tailed Cuckoo and Morepork, as well as seeing some more birds on the way there.
We got to Marahau at 7:03, and the first bird we heard was a Shining Cuckoo, another for the list! Soon after, we had Eurasian Greenfinch, Silvereye, Dunnock, and New Zealand Fantail added to it, going well. The walk around the wetland added some of course, such as Pied Stilt and White-Faced Heron, but we didn’t get the Banded Rail. I had thought of playing some calls to call them in but decided against it since it is the breeding season. However, there was a weka wading around in the swampy grass.
Next after Marahau we head for Motueka Sandspit to catch the high tide for waders. There we saw lots of Bar-tailed Godwit and Ruddy Turnstone, plus the Banded Dotterel, but I couldn’t find a single knot. Part way through looking for these Red Knots, to my amazement, we spotted a Little Tern!
The next spots were all smaller and aimed mainly at spotting some more waterfowl and passerines. This included hunting for Australian Wood Duck at the Playhouse ponds, but to our surprise, they weren’t there, they were at Hoddy Estuary Park!
Tho I condensed our trip, in total we gathered a total of 55 bird species, not including a rather convincing duck that looked oh so close to a Grey Duck…. But certianly I was pleased with our total! The Little Tern and Australian Wood Duck were a huge bonus for me.
If you can, I think taking part of such events is great fun, especially when you do it with other people. Why not join in the Birdathon, next time maybe? birdathon.co.nz