Following THE FLOCK NZ
THE FLOCK LIVES ON
For us folk in New Zealand this "Year of the Flock"is coming to an end. Many of the migratory birds have already departed on their northern migration.
Our endemic species have completed their breeding seasons. The departed Arctic migrants are being replaced with wrybill and South Island oystercatchers who have themselves moved north for the winter.
As for the Flock of gaily painted wooden birds, well, they are going into hibernation for the winter.
However there has been a last flurry of activity to to mark the departure of the Arctic migrants.
Locally the Port Waikato Flock made an appearance in their sculpture park. Plans are well underway for this Flock to return next Spring, both bigger and brighter than ever.
A little more distant, on Waiheke Island, the Hauraki Classroom packed their birds away as their small flock of godwits departed. They will also reappear next Spring.
There will be some new Flocks next year as various conservation groups have been gifted some "birds"to get them started.
Painted "birds"have been migrating around the country and appearing in many venues. Most recently many of them came to roost in the grounds of the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre. BRaid Aid sent a few of their wrybill to overwinter with our birds. Altogether there were 1400 "birds"on display, coming from local schools, Pippins and Brownies, Devonport Peninsula schools, members of the Birds New Zealand Youth Camp, Waiheke Is. and a big contingent from the Bay of Plenty.
Maybe some of the contributors can recognise their "birds"in the following images.
Special mention should be made of this small Flock from the East Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership Secretariat in S. Korea
Of course there were also many other birds on duty in school yards in New Zealand, Australia and S.Korea. The later giving the initiative an international dimension. There are strong indications that other countries will be starting their own Flocks for the next migration season.
The speed at which the Flock initiative gathered its own momentum was a great surprise. It was never a hard sell. For the young and not so young the art work was rewarding in itself but was also a way of demonstrating commitment to the conservation of shorebirds.
That it dovetailed so well with many aspects of the school curriculum was a great help. Learning went alongside the fun activity of painting "birds". We have heard many stories of how students have brought their parents and siblings up to speed on shorebird issues!
The large Flock displays that were to result provided wonderful opportunities to meet the public and talk about shorebirds.
SO MANY PEOPLE DESERVE CREDIT
The impact would have been so much less without the financial support provided by the Living Waters Partnership between DOC and Fonterra. So many people would have had less colour in their lives if Resene had not so generously provided free paint to all of the participants.
We were also thrilled to receive validation of the initiative from political figures from both NZ and China very early in the project.
Deserving of the greatest praise however are all of the children of NZ, their teachers and support staff, conservation groups and all of the people behind the scenes who supported them. The time that they willingly committed must run into many thousands of hours. The Pukorokoro Miranda Naturalists' Trust would like to thank them for making this initiative such a great success.
This was an awareness campaign and just one of many initiatives, local national and international directed toward the conservation of shorebirds and their habitat. We hope that it has contributed to the general ground swell toward conservation of our natural heritage. If it has helped to move the status of shorebirds to the iconic level of our bush birds then it will have been a job well started.
The title of this post is "The Flock Lives" It is true. Next Spring it will be back and not only in the one place and country where it began.
These are just some of the species of shorebird that the FLOCK initiative is all about. The bar-tailed godwits and red knots use the mudflats of the S. Korean Peninsula and other parts of the Yellow Sea as re-fuelling stations, before heading north to breed in the Arctic region.The wrybill are internal migrants using the braided rivers of the central South Island of NZ to breed. Water extraction and the invasion of weeds and predators has reduced the amount and quality of habitat for wrybill.
The Korean mini-flock made its first public appearance at Port Waikato on Saturday 21st January https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Waikato
It was a wonderful collaboration of varied organisations and people of all ages.
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=port%20waikato%20beachcare and supported by DOC,
Thanks to Joe and Sietze de Jong who took it to the Paeroa AMP show.As always it attracted people who wanted to know what it was all about so got to know about our shorebirds and their problems.
Another wing of the FLOCK is making an appearance at the Miranda Farm Gallery
A very happy Christmas from all of the FLOCK folk at Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre.
We were really thrilled with the Xmas message that we made with some of the FLOCK birds.
However the young people of the Port Waikato Beachcare group were way more inventive.
There are details of how to make birds and the reasons behind the campaign are told in the "Shorebird Stories"
800km east of mainland New Zealand lie the Chatham Islands. Transporting essentials to the Chathams can be expensive. It was wonderful that Hendrik Schultz found a little space among his research gear for the makings of a very distant wing of FLOCKNZ. Below flockmakers from Pitt Island and TeOne School, Chatham Island. Fellow researcher Rebecca is lending a hand cutting out some extra birds after talking about their brown skua research.
Hendrick has been researching Brown Skua for 3 years so another bird species has been added to the FLOCK.
We are now nearly 9 months into the FLOCK shorebird conservation initiative. It is a good point in time from which to look back. The involvement throughout NZ has been incredible.It is also thrilling to see the international uptake and participation. This blog site records the country of origin of its visitors and this makes interesting reading. These are the countries listed in order of the number of visits to our blog.
We all share the migratory shorebirds. A world without these magnificent creatures is hard to imagine. It is wonderful that so many people do care and want to "keep the birds coming".
2500+ "birds" make an impressive sight on Windsor reserve, Devonport. This is a great opportunity for the "minders of the FLOCK' to talk to the many visitors about the reasons behind the FLOCK, both on the reserve and at special film showings in the Vic cinema.
Sadly each year fewer migratory birds reach NZ. Our endemic shorebirds face threats too, here, rather than overseas.
While this Shorebird Festival in Devonport is primarily an awareness campaign, people have been very generous, donating to "Noddy" and also by painting a bird to either join the FLOCK or take away to enhance their own garden.
"Not a lot of people know that"These few words explain just what the FLOCK is trying to change. If it helps more people to know about shorebirds and their problems it is doing its job.
Sonny Whitelaw who is managing "FlockBRaid" tells us that there has been increased community involvement in conservation activities as a result their flock appearances.
The South Island is in all of our thoughts at the moment. For shore nesting birds like the Banded Dotterel at Kaikoura a 2-5m tsunami is devastating. Sonny also reports that the earthquake has totally blocked the Clarence River.
The population recovered from only 11 pairs to 300 individuals but now it is crashing. John Dowding, a leading authority, predicts that the southern NZ Dotterel could be extinct in 3-4 years.
Finally, just in from Wakaaranga School are these photos of their birds who will arrive just in time to join us at Devonport.
Please share your photos and stories so that there will be lots more people who DO KNOW about our amazing shorebirds.
It took an hour or so to put the 500+ birds in the ground. Lots of the birds come from local schools as did many of the spectators, along with their mums and dads.
One small FLOCK had just come from Mangatangi School's Calf Day held the day before..
Here at Pukorokoro Miranda we have been welcoming back our Arctic migrants from their breeding season.
Here and down South our endemic birds are busy breeding. Great efforts are underway on the South Island braided rivers to protect against predators.
Can you find the Wrybill nest among the river pebbles, in this photo from Nick Ledgard?
We have just received this video from young Jamie Tully. Jamie was at Devonport recently when Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. John Key and Hon. Maggie Barry, Minister for Conservation, visited. Thanks Jamie.
Also in Devonport on Sunday 20th November there will be a special film show and commentaries from Adrian Riegen and Keith Woodley at the Victoria Theatre. Don't miss out you can book online now www.thevic.co.nz
The FLOCK team would love to see you in Devonport.
Unwilling to accept the tyranny of the weather the team battled on and planted the FLOCK in dawns early light. Then the wind strengthened, the rain became horizontal and thunder and lightening threatened.Hardly anyone was there or likely to come. Time to pack up.
In the eastern Bay of Plenty a FLOCK of over 200 birds from six schools were being planted in the Ohiwa Dunes.
As you can see they also painted and signed some new FLOCK members.
There's a lot of new stuff to look at! you can find it at http://www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz/flock-media
Many thanks to Trudy Lane for loading all these resources onto the Pukorokoro Miranda website.Trudy also designed all of the poster resources, logos and a lot more.
If you would like to know a little more there are 4 articles (Extinction is forever. Arctic migrants.Endemic species.Stilts) which you can download as PDF's.
You will also find the FLOCK logo and font details you can use for your own FLOCK publicity.
Here in NZ now it is School holiday time but, a while ago, the very first school to join the FLOCK had a surprise. When the students from Kaiaua Primary arrived at school their FLOCK birds and many more had landed on the lawn.
We humans can cause beach nesting birds big problems. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml32UJxDmiU
This quite beautiful video cartoon from Bird Life International shows how nesting birds react to us.
This weekend, Sunday 2nd October, will be the first really big FLOCK appearance. Many Flock birds will roost at Ambury Park Farm Day, Ambury Regional Park, Mangere Bridge, Auckland. Find out more
The "unseen" FLOCK members are being created near and far.Visit http://issuu.com/devonportflagstaffnewspaper/docs/sept23devonportflagstaff?e=11678115/38970066
And scroll through the Devonport Flagstaff to pages 42-43 for an article about the Devonport FLOCK. Every school on the Devonport Peninsula, Auckland North Shore, is involved. A big occasion is planned for November, more later.
New schools are joining all the time.Welcome to the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust Christchurch who have 5 schools helping them to build a FLOCK. It will roost at the annual Farewell to the Godwits in February and they hope to sell their birds to raise money to fund a permanent flock of giant godwits for New Brighton. A really great idea.
Exciting developments from South Korea too.
A while ago David Lawrie sent a small parcel of cut out birds to Tomoko-Ichikawa of the EAAFP Secretariat in Incheon, S Korea. This group co-ordinates the groups in the flyway that migratory birds use from NZ and Australia, through the Yellow Sea and on to Alaska and Siberia. The folk there were thrilled to get their parcel and enjoying making their FLOCK.
Just to finish here is a banner we have made to explain the situation our shorebirds are in. For the birds in the "Nationally Critical" group the next step is "Extinct". We know that our iconic brown kiwi is in trouble. It is 3 steps away from "Extinct", the same as the red knot on the poster. It is a real worry that so many of our shorebirds are only one step away from "Extinct"
Thank you for being part of the FLOCK, for helping to spread the message and caring about these special birds.
The BRaid Rivers Group had a great FLOCK Launch on 9th September with Rangiora Borough School bringing along their FLOCK.
The party was hosted by Rangiora DOC. Sarah Ensor brought along their giant wrybill to join the party. It was an important event and Waimakariri District Mayor, David Ayers, joined in the fun. Good work Rangiora Borough School.
Already their beautiful sign has been erected at the beach.
There is just a little space to tell you about a threatened shorebird that is quite common in the Bay of Plenty over the summer.
It is the banded dotterel. Most, but not all, of them breed in the South Island and come north for the winter. Some also go to Australia for the winter but they never breed there.
Twizel Area School has just launched it's own FLOCK. Well done to you.
Also a strange happening, their big FLOCK has split in two. One half landed outside the Waimakariri District Council building just a few hours ago.
www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=braided river aid
The next few days are going to be very exciting. If you have something going on with your own FLOCK please let us know and we can share it with everyone.
A number of new schools have joined THE FLOCK project as a result of a visit from Krystal, our new PM educator. We welcome Dawson Primary, Wakaaranga Primary and St. Joseph's Paeroa. Also Year 3 from Oropi are making a Flock after seeing the amazing birds from Ruru's class.
It's not just the young folk though. A community group from Waiheke Island, known as the Waiheke Classroom, is preparing 50 birds for THE FLOCK.
On the 21st of September at Hamilton Gardens there will be a FLOCK appearance at a one day EnviroSchools event.
firstname.lastname@example.org or (09)232 2781
New groups are continuing to get involved. Just about all Devonport schools are making birds. Waitakaruru School at the bottom of the Firth of Thames has all 100 students fledging birds this term.
In the South Island, Rangiora Borough School is fledging birds too (the photo above shows some of their fantastic creations).
Plans are afoot to show all of these wonderful birds to the world. We will keep you posted with details.
The FLOCK will gather at Kaiaua on Saturday 22nd October, we haven't confirmed the location yet but we will let you know.
All going to plan there will be a massive FLOCK appearance at Windsor Park, Devonport from 11th November.
Our South Island wing, the BRaid River Group has a number of events planned. They are getting great support from both business and local government. Look out for the FLOCK at Christchurch Airport. Follow them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/braidedriveraid
Their poster tells a little about the birds they are so concerned about.
Recently we sent some birds to South Korea for decoration.
Exciting news from the UK, a group in the Wirral is planning it's own FLOCK.
While the FLOCK is not worldwide yet it is interesting to see from how many countries folk are following it's progress through this Blog. At the moment there is interest from NZ, UK, USA, Russia, France, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Spain, South Korea, and the Ukraine. With Alaska and Siberia at the end of the flyway for our Arctic migrants it would be terrific to welcome them into the FLOCK project sometime soon.
A big thanks again to Resene but also to those people who are getting behind the FLOCK. We haven't even reached the halfway point yet so there is plenty of time for new schools and groups to get involved, no matter where in the world you are.
Welcome Te Puke School who are getting on board, looking forward to you photos.
Our world's threatened shorebirds need our help.
We share some birds with them and Tony Flaherty, the co-ordinator, is adding some species we don't have in NZ. Like this Red-capped Plover (image J J Harrison)
Back in NZ the "FlockNZ" has grown by 83 birds. The school holiday programme at Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre has been a great success due to the efforts of Krystal, Louisa and volunteers, who willingly gave 75 hours of their time.
The "FlockNZ" has also grown in another way. Not birds this time but PREDATORS! They are the reason so many of our shorebirds are in trouble.
Like the Wrybill the Kaki is not very aware of predators, unlike it's close relative the Pied Stilt who survive much better.
Just yesterday we got to see the wonderful birds that had come to join The Flock from Ruru class, Oropi School, BOP.
Young people can make a big difference. Tomairangi Harvey from Christchurch was just 11years old when she made an animated film about the conservation of the NZ Shore Plover/tuturuatu. Her film was so good that she won the "Best Young Film Maker" award at the Japanese Wildlife Film Festival of 2015.
Watch her film here http://theoutlookforsomeday.net/films/2014/009/
The students really enjoyed making these fantastic birds to join"The Flock" but more importantly they were thrilled to learn about them.
Many of these young enthusiasts will be coming along to Pukorokoro Miranda with their parents and siblings this school holidays to see the birds for real.
The Pippins and Brownies also brought their brothers and sisters, their parents and their grandparents along as well. They all heard about the shorebirds and then they went down to the hide to see them for real. It is wonderful to have the new Flock members but even better that so many more people now know about our birds.YOU HAVE TO KNOW TO CARE and if you care about something you want to protect it.
They need more people to know because this unique bird, with it's right turned bill is NATIONALLY VULNERABLE.
Wrybill were going along nicely in NZ until people arrived with their pest animals and plants. Before that their only predators were other birds who hunted by sight. Nesting wrybill have almost perfect camouflage.
Wrybill aren't used to feral cats and other predators who hunt at night using smell.Sadly many wrybill are killed on their nests and their eggs and chicks are eaten.
The Braid group do care.They would like help so they started their own wing of The Flock. It is growing which is good news for wrybills and all the other birds in the braided rivers of Canterbury.
YOU can help by fledging a bird for The Flock. There is a great opportunity at Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre during the school holidays. Find out more.http://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2016/school-holiday-fun/auckland
The first holiday week 11-15 July the tides are good to see our shorebirds. 2,000 Wrybill in flight is a breath-taking and unforgettable experience. https://www.facebook.com/MirandaShorebirdCentre/videos/1138855132794853/
WE NEED TO KEEP THE BIRDS COMING!
Dai lived at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre in January and February. He was a volunteer shorebird guide and he showed lots of visitors our shorebirds and told them about their lives and the threats they face.
He saw the Flock when it was very small and he has been following it's growth on the newsletter. http://us13.campaign-archive2.com/?u=00755df772c73d2efa5941750&id=62b649cb15&e=a9f3c7a112
the Coastlands school at St. Ishmaels, Pembrokeshire.
Can you guess which one is a puffin? There are some great ideas here but wait until you see what Oropi School has been up to. Find out about how to join The Flock www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz/theflock
Over Queen's Birthday weekend many "birders" gathered from all over New Zealand to take part in BirdsNZ annual conference.
The Flock made a great show when it appeared on the Napier foreshore early one morning.
One of the characters in The Flock is Godwin Kuaka Godwit. This is probably a good time to explain how he got his name.
Every year Forest and Bird holds a competition to choose the "Bird of the Year" Last year competition was fierce. "Go Godwit!" a supporter typed but it came out as "Go Godwin!" That is how he got his name, Godwit won and is "Bird of the Year 2015-16" Godwin wears a crown and he is almost as handsome as real godwits.
Godwin Kuaka Godwit, as a shorebird ambassador, was really pleased to meet Manukura, the white kiwi, he is a very important bush bird and even has his own Facebook page.https://www.facebook.com/ManukuraWhiteKiwi/
They had a great road trip but were very sorry to miss the Pippin Brownies from Paeroa who brought their own very special birds to join The Flock yesterday.
|Boomer Boy Jack with the cutouts.|
And the MBCT's Alzheimer’s group has primed them, making them ready for painting and decorating.
|Getting the birds primed for decoration.|
Pukorokoro Miranda is planning to invite students from Manukau schools to decorate them - and take the time to learn about the amazing shorebirds on their doorstep.
Anita Curlett, project manager at MBCT, told us a bit about why they are helping out with The Flock: "With our theme being ‘Water for Life’, Southern Seabirds Solutions and Forest and Bird partnered with us at Eye on Nature to share their message why Seabirds are important. We feel that The Flock continues on with our concept this year and is a hugely important environmental issue to support."
The Alzheimer's group are "loving and getting right into this new project" according to Anita.
Auckland’s harbours are important habitats for shorebirds. They congregate on the Manukau harbour from Waiuku, Karaka, up through to Ambury Park and to heavily populated north shores of the Manukau. Ambury Regional Park is a great spot in Auckland for getting a good look at godwits, wrybills, red knots and even spoonbills!
MBCT does a huge amount of work to keep Auckland beautiful. It recently organised a clean up of Manukau's Puhinui Stream, setting the New Zealand record for the largest number of volunteers – 1900 – at an environmental clean-up! Wow!
A big thanks to the Boomer Boys, the Alzheimer's group and MBCT for contributing to The Flock!
So much has happened. It is difficult to know where to start.
The Pippin Brownies from Paeroa finished their birds. There are just a few Pippins so they each made 2 birds.
http://braid.org.nz/the-flock/ We are thrilled that they have started their own wing or The Flock NZ. It took flight on Tuesday with enthusiastic support. Looking forward to progress reports.
Since smiles are to the fore, a trip back in time to another Flock occasion is worthwhile:- The visit of the Chinese Delegation.
This is the cover for the next Pukorokoro Miranda News, due very shortly. As you can see even grown ups get a big kick out of contributing to "The "Flock"
School holidays is usually the time for an extra hour in bed. Not for the young birders at the BirdsNZ Youth Camp held at Pukorokoro Miranda. They were often up before dawn.
Pleasingly they did find time to add some new birds to the flock.
It was great to see the enthusiasm for this conservation project. There are some amazing pieces of artwork amongst the new additions.
There are just so many ways to decorate a bird, here are a few.
The top bird is realistic, permanent marker pens on shower board.
The rest are more inventive. However YOU can write a message, knit a rugby jersey, make a mosaic or even paint a flag. The purple "hippiebird" has painted flowers outlined with marker pen and "Santa" has lots of gold stars and tinsel.
There are some amazing birds on the way to join The Flock and they are all going to help to "Keep the Birds Coming"
There were happy children and busy hands when Jim Eagles visited Kaiaua School last week. Painting "the Flock" birds is a great fit with the school's teaching programme. Really looking forward to visiting to see the finished birds.
www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz/theflock , then persuaded some friends to make the cut-outs. These are the first two finished birds. Love the eyes! A roosting site is being sought.
At Pukorokoro-Miranda Shorebird Centre (PMSC) we thought "Hmmn, this is great, we could give this a kiwi twist and help to promote the cause of shorebirds in NZ." So we began to create our FLOCK
There was a real need. Those migratory birds that leave us to breed in the Arctic have been suffering. Each year fewer birds reach the shores of NZ from their Arctic breeding grounds. To make it even more urgent we had just learned the extent of this population decline. Each year the Bar-tailed Godwit, the NZ Bird of the Year, was losing 2% of its population. For other species the decline was much worse. The long term prospects were very worrying,
We will be blogging about THE FLOCK for another year. In fact until they leave our shores for their breeding grounds via the Yellow Sea. Over that year we want to tell you about these birds, their amazing abilities and the problems that they are facing. We won't be forgetting our own shorebirds either.
Many of these are facing challenges of a different nature. There are so many interesting stories to tell. We would particularly want o hear from all of you folk out there. Building THE FLOCK is becoming a real adventure. We don't know where it will end but do no that it will be, in fact is, a real success. But we have hardly started.
is where we were on the 14th of February this year.We had this very small flock but PMSC was convinced that this project was going to work. So we started.
hey signed and decorated birds and THE FLOCK grew some more.
At this moment there are schools and individuals busy making and decorating birds. Many are around Miranda but there are others in the Bay of Plenty,Devonport and even in Christchurch. It could even be whole new South Island FLOCK!
Many people are involved, Children, teachers and grown ups as well. We want to tell all of their stories.