Trip Report

Miranda – 5-6 November 2003

We were both at Miranda on the evening of the 5th and me on the morning of the 6th.

On the late afternoon/early evening of the 5th we spent most time overlooking the Stilt Ponds from beside the road, at high tide on the Wed evening. Most of the godwit and knot flock came to roost on the ponds and we have fantastic light and viewing conditions. Four sharp-tailed sands had been reported for the area, but we managed to count 8 in total, some still sporting lovely traces of breeding plumage. The marsh sand was also present (one both days) and we had excellent views of this also, although it was a little ‘skittery’ and was getting bullied by the pied stilts a bit. No sign of the black-tailed godwit, which had been seen last a couple of weeks ago.

After scanning the godwit and knot for leg flags (and finding the Chinese flagged godwit that had been recently discovered) we headed across and scanned the shellbanks and mudflats that were starting to be exposed. The wrybill flock of around 100 birds was present, with a terek sand in amongst them. This allowed a reasonably close approach, so I managed a few photos. An obscenely friendly (curious??) New Zealand dotterel also filled the frame of the camera!

The next morning I headed again to the Stilt ponds and lay still for a few hours, trying to get shots of the marsh sand. This was achieved with moderate success, but the surprise of the day was when 6 sharp-tailed sands flew in and landed less than 10m away!! Some nice portraits resulted.

So amongst the regular species were –

Sharp-tailed Sand 8
Terek Sand 1
Marsh Sand 1
Bar-tailed Godwit c3000 including at least 24 white flags, one orange and one of the chinese orange/green flags
Red Knot c1500 inc at least 6 orange flags
Turnstone c20
Wrybill c100


Terek sandpiper with wrybill

New Zealand dotterel

Marsh sandpiper

Sharp-tailed sandpipers

Sharp-tailed sandpiper