You'd think by now, a year into my fellowship, I'd be nailing the bird identification in the field. I'm certainly getting better, but those waders can be tricky and so I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity over Labour weekend to attend the wader ID course at Miranda. For me the time to be at the shellbanks observing the birds, getting the size comparisons, differences in body shape, plumage characteristics and feeding techniques allowed me to become even more attuned to the subtleties of waders. We had a good range of birds present over the weekend including NZ Dotterel, Banded Dotterel, Bar-tailed Godwit, Hudsonian Godwit, Red Knot, Pacific Golden Plover, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and a Red-necked Stint.
One of the other aspects of the weekend I enjoyed was having my kids up so they could check out the birds too, hopefully a bit of the interest will rub off on them!