Travel New Zealand: Birdwatching at Miranda
The trip to Miranda usually takes an hour from the front door of the Great Ponsonby but Judy & I meandered along the scenic coastal route so it took somewhat longer. Judy is a guest of ours who comes from America every year, wishing she had been born and kiwi. While I was in the States just before their election she organised for me to be at a fundraiser in a room with Obama so my way of repaying the treat was to take her to Miranda to see the seabirds come in to feed. I mean what else compares with smiling and waving at Obama? If we had been there a bit earlier it would have been handshakes.
We left the car at the Miranda Naturalists’ Trust ( http://www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz ) under a floppy, insignificant tree with twelve sparrows nests in it. We wondered if they were related. A sparrow condo perhaps?
It is a half hour walk along the dunes to the first hide on the coast. As we approached a wee boy of about ten rushed up to us saying he had just seen some bird or other that made him very excited. He turned out to be a mine of information and because of him I was able to take pictures of the birds as soon as they took off for their next feeding spot in front of the second hide.
I don’t think most of the bids we saw are actually ours. They migrate from Northern climes and fly non-stop for nine days to get here. They arrive in September so when we saw them in January they were fattening up.
There are forty-one different species at Miranda. We did not see that many and most of them were Bar-tailed Godwits and Red Knots which look like wee fat godwits and they seem to hang around together. There were Pied Oystercatchers, our own black Oystercatchers and Wrybills, Pied Stilts,sandpipers and others I have forgotten.
There is a recovery programme in the Hauraki Gulf for the New Zealand Shoreplovers as only 150 are left in the world. One has turned up at Miranda so it will not be doing its bit to help the breeding programme all by itself.
Over summer there is a volunteer in the hide armed with powerful telescope, books and heaps of knowledge. I know little about birds but learnt a lot and had a wonderful few hours there. After an obligatory stop the fish and chip shop in Kaiaua where I ate delicious mussel fritters we drove back to the Great Ponsonby, a world away.
In fact, for your Auckland accommodation, look no further than the Great Ponsonby.