Golden Bay is home to an amazing variety of shorebirds and seabirds. They live in our coastal wetlands, on our sandy beaches and rocky shoreline, in estuaries and on sandspits.
Our shorebirds and seabirds face many threats – nests above the high tide mark are easily lost to strong storm surges and high spring tides. Breeding habitats can be lost to erosion and land development. Eggs and chicks can be easy prey for cats, dogs, stoats, weasels and hedgehogs as well as black backed gulls and harrier hawks. Cats, stoats and weasels also kill adult birds especially when they are sitting on their nests. Nests are easily trampled by dogs and vehicles.
Protection of our shorebirds and seabirds is currently the main work of the Golden Bay branch of Forest and Bird. Many of their special habitats are under threat. Habitats that they rely on to feed, breed and rest. We would like to see (i) Tasman District Council’s Dog Control bylaw reviewed so that important shorebird habitats are better protected from off leash dogs (ii) a rule added to the TRMP to keep vehicles out of these significant sites and (iii) a cat bylaw that aligns with Forest and Bird’s national policy on cats. In principle the Department of Conservation supports our initiatives.
Here is a list of shorebirds and seabirds you can easily find on the Golden Bay coastline. There are others but they are confined mainly to Farewell Spit and Westhaven Inlet:
Resident birds: torea (variable oystercatcher), tarapuka (black billed gull), tarapunga (red billed gull), tara nui -(caspian tern), tuturiwhatu (banded dotterel), kawau (pied shag), tara (white fronted tern), korora (little penguin), parekareka (spotted shag), kawau paka (little pied shag), takapu (gannet), poaka (pied stilt), matuku moana (white faced heron), matuku (reef heron) and karoro (black backed gull).
National migrants: torea (South Island pied oystercatcher), kotuku (white heron), kotuku ngutupapa (royal spoonbill).
International migrants: kuaka (bar tailed godwit).
If you want to learn more about these birds go to the Birds NZ website www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz