Just a few minutes walk from my house, there is a small bird sanctuary, which is home to thousands of wading birds. It consists of two small man made islands and the surrounding land. When the tide is out the wading birds go out to feed , when the tidal is they come back. About 80 species of birds live here. There are Godwits, Pied Stilts and huge flocks of Oyster Catchers. There are also several rare species such as the Northern New Zealand Dotterel and the Wrybill.



Royal Spoonbills

Perhaps the most spectacular looking birds here are the Royal Spoonbills. they can be quite shy so it can be hard to get close to them.




From September to March there are large flocks of Bar Tailed Godwits. These birds are famous for their long migratory flight. Every September these birds fly from Alaska to New Zealand ( a journey of around 12000 km). Later around early March they fly back over a period of about 4 months making stops in Australia and the sea between Korea and Japan. Their flight from Alaska to New Zealand is the longest non stop flight by any sea bird. They are wading birds so they can not stop on this flight also there is no land to create thermal updrafts. The Godwits fly continuously without gliding at a speed averaging about 80 km/hr.




These are Wrybills. They can be quite hard to see as at a distance they just like like stones. They are called Wrybills because of their beaks which are bent sideways. They are the only species of bird in the world to have a beak like this. These birds are endemic to New Zealand and there are only about 5000 of them. Sometimes around 10% of the entire population can be found on this bird sanctuary in the Manukau harbour.



This is a New Zealand Dotterel. I think there are about 12 of these living in the area.