By Alison Ballance
Keith Woodley watching waders with his spotting scope from the Miranda Shorebird Centre bird hide (image: A. Ballance)
Each autumn godwits and other Arctic wading birds head north from New Zealand back to their breeding grounds in Alaska and Siberia. They begin departing in early march and by mid April only a few juveniles birds that will overwinter remain here along with resident shorebirds such as wrybills.
The migratory shorebirds arrive in New Zealand each spring to feed on rich mudflats in estuaries and harbours around the country, but one of the top places to see them is Miranda, on the Firth of Thames. Keith Woodley is long-time manager at the Miranda Shorebird Centre, and Alison Ballance joins him at the centre’s viewing hide for a spot of late afternoon high-tide wader watching.
View from the bird hide at high tide, with hundreds of shorebirds scattered across the white shell bank and the mudflats (image: A. Ballance)