Kaikoura Wader Watch

Kaikoura wader quest1  WCWW A3

Last weekend was the second international Wader Conservation World Watch, organised by superlative supporters of shorebirds, Rick and Elis Simpson of Wader Quest. So with wader watchers and plover lovers turning out all over the globe in celebration of shorebirds, we decided to represent the waders of Kaikoura by ogling oystercatchers and hopefully twitching a turnstone. We advertised around town in the hope that a few people might like to join us and were delighted when five people actually turned up to meet us at Jimmy Armer’s Beach!

We’d calculated that at least six species ought to be achievable, having regularly seen both Variable and South Island Pied Oystercatchers, a pair of Pied Stilts, the odd Banded Dotterel and a handful of Ruddy Turnstones along the short stretch of coastline from Jimmy Armer’s Beach to Point Kean, with Spur-winged Plovers/Masked Lapwings in a paddock over the road. It was a lovely evening to watch the tide dropping as birds foraged along the tide line and among the rockpools. The company was convivial and the shorebird spotting all went pretty much to plan, except the Masked Lapwings were nowhere to be seen…were we going to finish with only five species in the bag?

Kaikoura Wader Quest-001

Our Kaikoura Wader Watch included Banded Dotterel, Pied Stilt, Variable Oystercatcher, South Island Pied Oystercatcher and Ruddy Turnstone. But where were the Masked Lapwings?

We feared we’d have to drive up to the paddocks on top of the peninsula to tick our final species, but suddenly, just as we were all returning to our cars, we spotted the Masked Lapwings had returned to their regular spot across from the car park. Success! Last-minute lapwings got us our six species in the end. And we were so excited we forgot to take a picture to prove it, but here’s a dorky photo from elsewhere for you to enjoy anyway:

Masked Lapwing or Spur-winged Plover. Or as we like to call it, Cheeseface.

Masked Lapwing or Spur-winged Plover. Or as we like to call it, Cheeseface.

Results for the Wader Conservation World Watch should be available soon – check out the Wader Quest’s page for a full list of all participants and species seen, including our small Kaikoura contribution.

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