Archives For oystercatcher

By Kath Inwood, Partnerships Ranger, Nelson

The Motueka sandspit is an internationally significant site for shorebirds, providing roosting and nesting space for variable oystercatchers and banded dotterel, and temporary lodgings for the bar-tailed godwit. Being so close to town, however, it is a popular spot for Motueka dog owners to walk their dogs.

A variable oystercatcher.

A variable oystercatcher

Ranger Ross with some dogs.

Ranger Ross and some of the dogs

To improve awareness of the birds in the area, we got together with Tasman District Council and Birds New Zealand to try out an Australian idea – the Dog’s Breakfast. This event provides dog owners an opportunity to learn about the birds of the foreshore and sandspit over a bacon and egg butty (sandwich).

Around 50 dog walkers turned out to breakfast with their dogs over a two and a half hour period on Saturday 8 March.

With the smell of sizzling bacon in the background, David Melville from Birds New Zealand explained that variable oystercatchers and banded dotterel are key inhabitants of the sandspit area, along with the better-known bar-tailed godwits, who make the 11,000km flight between New Zealand and Alaska.

The crowd at the Dog's breakfast.

The crowd gathers for the dog’s breakfast

The purpose of the breakfast was to raise awareness of dog owners about the significance of this area for shorebirds, and to enable them to be more informed about how they can minimise the disturbance to wildlife, while enjoying the benefits of an area such as this to walk their dogs.

By Herb Christophers

Since I was a nipper in the backyard with an old woven mat pegged to the fence line, I have enjoyed camping outdoors! My first real pup tent was demolished in short order. It was like a light bed sheet held up by toothpicks’ – looked good but didn’t work properly!’

Herb's family campsite.

Herb’s family camp site

So, by the time I had been tramping over many years in many places – mostly with just a fly or a small tent, I was a dyed-in-the-wool camper! I did not find it difficult to adapt to a larger canvas tent when a family came along. I just applied the same principles as my lightweight days and accepted that I did not have to carry the load on my back!

Ashley from Greenland learns to turn a steak

Ashley from Greenland learns to turn a steak

My wife would have liked a spiral staircase but they don’t do those in canvas. Even so, I wondered how we used to fill the three rooms of a canvas mansion that spilled out to resemble a small village after the kids had decided that they wanted their own little tents! In spite of this, we have always kept it simple and resisted the temptation to get too high tech which is why we prefer the less well appointed campsites. We enjoy places where making do gives you a real sense of achievement and a healthy respect for the environment and what it can provide.

The kids hang out

The kids hang out

Over the years we have had some great camping holidays and my wife and I still take a small tent away with us to pitch at a convenient DOC campsite.

Coastal areas have always been favourites. The sounds and smells of the sea are so relaxing and even the sound of the wind tugging in the trees is something that keeps me in touch with the forces of nature. I tend to be a bit of a geek too. Out come the binocs – kaka here, dotterel there, heron over yonder by the banded rail… Summer in the sun!

Variable oystercatcher spotted at the beach.

Variable oystercatcher spotted at the beach

So, as summer holidays approach I bust out the tent and all the other paraphernalia, pitch it in the backyard to check it out and think back a few decades to when the adventure began!

Camping near the coast, looking out to Slipper Island.

Camping on the Coromandel coast

Ranger Eigill Wahlberg spends the summer on the Chatham Islands undertaking predator control and nest monitoring for the world’s rarest oystercatcher—the Chatham Island oystercatcher.

Continue Reading...