Good­bye god­wits

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - KELVIN LANE, MANAWATU ES­TU­ARY TRUST

Recog­ni­tion of the Manawatu Es­tu­ary’s im­por­tance has grown im­mensely over the 11 years since it was given in­ter­na­tional Ramsar sta­tus. The es­tu­ary plays habi­tat and host not only to species that travel south to north within New Zealand, but also to mi­gra­tory birds from the Arc­tic.

Most fa­mously among them is the bar­tailed god­wit. Named ‘‘Bird of the Year’’ by the Royal New Zealand For­est and Bird So­ci­ety, th­ese are sum­mer vis­i­tors to the es­tu­ary, apart from a rem­nant which stays over un­til they ma­ture. At this time of year, the birds are pre­par­ing to leave on an 11,000 – 12,000 kilo­me­tre staged jour­ney via China to their May breed­ing grounds in Alaska.

Mem­bers of the Manawatu Es­tu­ary Trust ex­tend a wel­come to the Manawatu Es­tu­ary at Fox­ton Beach this Sun­day March 13 at 11am be­fore the high tide, to bid ‘‘farewell to the birds’’. Ac­cess and close prox­im­ity to the birds means there are ex­cel­lent view­ing and pho­to­graphic op­por­tu­ni­ties. God­wit fans and bird­watch­ers can gather on Sun­day at the end of Rob­bie Street off Se­abury Ave, Fox­ton Beach.

PHOTO: TERRY OLIVER WARD/SUP­PLIED

God­wits at the Manawatu Es­tu­ary are pre­par­ing to leave for the north­ern hemi­sphere breed­ing sea­son.

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