We arrived at Christchurch and after collecting our hire car, armed with instructions from local scientist and conservationist John Dowding, headed for Black Stilt country, as we sped anxiously through the pastoral landscape that New Zealand’s South Island has become, amazed at the sheer numbers of Yellowhammers we were seeing, we saw our first Wader Quest tick, South Island Pied Oystercatcher fondly known as SIPO to the locals.
|South Island Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus finschi.|
|Our first stilts in New Zealand, hybrid Black / White headed Stilts Himantopus novaezelandiae / leucocephalus.|
As we prepared to drive away a movement caught my eye just below the car, on inspection it turned out to be rather more pleasing than the stilt hybrids, a second Wader Quest tick, Double–banded Plover, and what a tick it was, a beautiful bird.
|Double-banded Plover Charadrius bicinctus.|
|Our first Black Stilts Himantopus novaezelandiae.|
|Juvenile Black Stilt|
|Adult Black Stilt|
|'Our' Black Stilt showing its rings.|