23/02/09 Straw-necked ibis, Threskiornis spinicollis, seen near Tarras, Central Otago
This bird is a FIRST RECORD FOR NEW ZEALAND. It was first reported by Erik Forsyth via BIRDING-NZ late on 23 Feb 2009 after he saw the bird in a paddock beside SH8a just 2km west of the SH8a and SH8 junction near Tarras. The bird was seen in a paddock with spur-winged plover and sheep, and was thankfully still in the area when Brent (at the time on a 21-day tour and luckily staying in Wanaka) managed to see it on the way back into Wanaka late afternoon on 24 Feb (thanks to Erik’s post and instructions). Pretty awesome when you don’t even have to deviate an inch from a planned day and manage to see a bird that is a first record for New Zealand!
When found by Brent and his team the bird was in a paddock with large irrigators and cattle, feeding happily on a swampy spot with spur-winged plover, paradise ducks, and pied stilt. The bird flew with all the other birds when a harrier went over (hence the flight shot below) and then landed in paddocks on the south side of the highway. It was last seen there at 1900 hrs. These irrigated paddocks are about 3km to the west of the SH8a and SH8 junction – the junction is about 1.5 kms south of Tarras.