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