New bird residents welcomed

The first ever sighting of a tomtit in Whangaparaoa has excited local environmentalists. Photo, Jon Paul Hansen

Last month, Hibiscus Coast Forest and Bird ran its seventh annual bird count and Pest Free Hibiscus Coast coordinator Jenny Hanwell says the early findings look exciting.

Twenty-six volunteers stepped forward to undertake five minute counts across 17 local sites including Orewa Estuary, Karaka Cove and Shakespear Regional Park.

Forest and Bird conduct the survey in partnership with Professor James Dale at Massey University, who will analyse the data, along with Masters student Hayden Pye. While undertaking one of the surveys in Archer’s Bush, Jim was lucky enough to film a male tomtit – the first known sighting of this bird on the peninsula.

The stormwater ponds at Millwater’s Metro Park have also emerged as a hotspot, with local residents recording less common species such as New Zealand dabchick and grey duck, with bar-tailed godwit on the sports fields close by. Jenny says this makes it especially important for dog owners to keep their pets on a lead in this area.

She says the survey included several observations of species expanding out of Shakespear Park along the peninsula, including whitehead and bellbird, and early indications suggest that several other birds appear to be increasing their range.

“While there is certainly more to be done, this is hugely encouraging for our team of volunteers, and a signal that there is an increased need to expand predator control work on the coast,” Jenny says.


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