nzbirds >   birding (NZ birdwatching) >   birding sites

Miranda Shorebird Centre (reviews, reports)

Miranda Shorebird Centre(1st page) Directions/Transport Site map Birds found here Photos / Images Reviews/Trip reports

Reviews & trip reports

My first trip to Miranda was an incredible experience for an English birder. Of course the setting is so typical of New Zealand it is only worth mentioning to foreigners... The shining waters of the firth of Thames, the background of many coloured hills, the mixture of primeval vegetation and genteel “British” Countryside are taken for granted by the natives. The weather can, of course, be all too familiar to one from the other side of the world... but the gods treated us kindly and the sun was shining in a clear blue late summer sky.

We came for one reason... to see Wrybill. Whilst the numbers of waders may be a phenomenon on the local scale it is unremarkable on a global one. There is nothing there to compare to Queensland’s Cairns foreshore or Western Australia‘s Roebuck Bay where the waders can be numbered in the hundreds of thousands. My local patch in Kent, Pegwell Bay certainly attracts waders by the thousand and is vaguely reminiscent of Miranda with a fringe of salt marsh and the rich mudflats that are home to the sort of snails, molluscs and other crustaceans that waders cannot resist.

I remember the large flock of Godwit reminding me of Norfolk and the other waders posing problems just as they do back home. Wader ID is not my strength and, whilst some, like the single dunlin, posed no problem others, like a lone western sandpiper certainly did. Of course I was charmed and mesmerised by the Wrybill, a group of perhaps 35 running like Sanderling and feeding like an avocet with a crick in the neck.

I haven‘t been back for many years but at that time the only cover was a dirty wooden hide big enough for two and considerable numbers of spiders that rose and fell on the tide. But the beauty dissipated the discomfort and excitement of so may waders and all the ones new for me that necessitated scrutinising the field guide in the half-light of dusk in an unlit hide.

Before leaving the next day we took another peek and a wander around the newly constructed centre, (filled at the time with superb line drawings by, I seem to recall, the then warden). He was excited... not, as we, by the Wrybill or Western Sandpiper but the lone Dunlin — a first for the reserve! For those of you who haven’t braved the long flight to blighty, dunlin are just about our most common wader!

bo beolens, Aka The Fat Birder, 1999

Link to
Fat Birder

Review this site or share a trip report
New Zealand Bird's would be greatful to birders' willing to review any of our birding pages or contribute a trip report for inclusion on these pages.
All published contributions will be acknowledged on the appropriate birding page and the contributor will receive a copy of New Zealand Bird's birdsong CD.  Contact the web diva:Narena Olliver,
(page last updated  27 October 2013)