Earlier in the month, Nelmac team members were delighted to notice that a group of over a dozen royal spoonbills had landed in the wetlands that form part of Nelson City Council’s Nelmac-managed Nelson North Waste Water Treatment Plant. (NWWTP) In recent years, royal spoonbills have become more frequent visitors to the region; increasingly seen on the edges of Waimea Estuary and recognisable by their long, black, spoon-shaped beaks. Since first being sighted in New Zealand in the 1860’s the population is now thought to be around 1000.
According to Nelmac Conservation Ranger Josh Stephens, this is the second year in a row that the birds have taken up temporary residence in Wakapuaka and indicates the range of the birds continues to grow.
“It took them a while to start breeding and now they’re spreading out over the country.”
While uncertain where the Nelson birds were heading, Stephens thought the most likely breeding locations would be in the Marlborough Sounds or Okarito Lagoon on the West Coast.
“It’s probably not that much of a haul for them to pick up and head for Okarito.”
Stephens urged dog-owners to keep their pets under control in the Boulder Bank area.
The morning after the arrival of the spoonbills, Nelmac team member Tony Flewellen looked out on the NWWTP wetlands only to notice the arrival of the first of the season’s Godwits coming in to land after their long journey from Alaska. While coming from too different a direction to be slip streaming on the Spoonbills, we might assume the parties have come to some kind of arrangement in regard to international protocols of airspace. After you Madam Godwit? Not at all Mr Spoonbill, take your time and we’ll follow on tomorrow.