Miranda wading birds

P1130605

This swirling mass of bird life can be seen at any high tide at Miranda on the Firth of Thames, south of Auckland. Miranda is the roosting site for thousands of wading birds which feed on the vast mudflats around the fringes of the firth. These fertile mudflats, exposed as the tide recedes, produce large amounts of invertebrate life needed to sustain such a bird population. But although you can see a sight like this all year, the individual birds are only visitors; only a small number of them breed at Miranda. This photo shows mostly wrybills (over 2000 when we visited) which have recently returned from nesting over summer on the braided riverbeds of Canturbury and Otago in the South Island. South Island pied oystercatchers also make this journey and have just arrived back at Miranda. In their absence over summer, the Miranda mudflats are instead home to many thousand bar-tailed godwits and lesser knots which breed across northern Siberia and Alaska. That’s a migration that knocks the journey of wrybills and SIPO well and truly into a cocked hat!

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