North Shore Times : January 24th 2013
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Ph: 414 2447 View our latest edition online at www.northshoretimes.co.nz Advertising Feature & Buy direct save Wetlands: A spur-winged plover picks through a puddle at the Mangere Bridge bird sanctuary. Rare species flock to haven Birds on the foreshore By ANNA LOREN Prolific: Spur-winged plovers, foreground, and pied oystercatchers, background, roost here in their thousands. Photos: ANNA LOREN There are just 5000 wrybills in the world and half of them use Mangere Bridge to roost, ornithologist Ray Clough says. ''So if we lose them into a plane, that's it.'' A breeding flock of 12 northern New Zealand dotterels, of which there are only 2000 in total, also make their home here. Dotterels' nests are ''just small scrapes'' dug into the sand above the high tide mark, Mr Clough says. It's for that reason he has his reservations about bird-watchers flocking to the foreshore. Mr Clough acknowledges ''human beings want recreation areas'' but says respect for the environment and the birdlife is important too. ''People disturbing the birds is our biggest problem because they'll quite often abandon their nests if they're scared. A lot of people just aren't aware that birds nest on the ground as well as in trees.'' Watercare has a slightly more relaxed view. Plans are under way to open nearby Puketutu Island as a regional park and Daniel Wrigley hopes the foreshore will attract an ever-increasing number of visitors. ''The whole area will hopefully be a playground for the whole of Auckland.'' HAVEN FOR THE WRYBILL Mention bird sanctu- ary and most Auck- landers think of Tiritiri Matangi or Great Bar- rier Island in the far reaches of the Hauraki Gulf. Many have no idea a world-class bird sanctu- ary is in urban Auck- land. A short walk beyond the wooden gates of Mangere Bridge s council-owned working farm, Ambury Park, reveals thousands of birds -- around 20,000 during peak season -- roosting by the rocky shore of the Manukau Harbour. The 7km stretch of coastline that meanders from Ambury to the nearby Otuataua Stone- fields is internationally recognised as a roosting and feeding area. It forms part of Te Araroa -- The Long Pathway -- a 3000km walking trail stretching the length of New Zealand, from Cape Reinga to Bluff. The area was part of the Mangere wastewater treatment plant. It was officially reopened as a coastal walkway in 2005 after a $451 million upgrade to the plant by council-controlled organ- isation Watercare and it was New Zealand s biggest coastal marine restoration project. Five hundred hectares -- 714 football fields -- of sludge ponds were drained and more than 270,000 native trees were planted in an effort to restore the coastline. Today fowl reap the benefits of Watercare s work, spokesman Daniel Wrigley says. Around 80 species of birds make their home here at various times of the year. Many roost on arti- ficial shell islands just off the coast which help to discourage them from flocking at nearby Auck- land Airport. It s a solution to an expensive problem -- experts estimate the damage of bird strikes to planes is in the billions of dollars worldwide. If one of the big jet engines gets a medium- sized bird in it, there s the potential to do dam- age up to $50m, airport grounds and wildlife planner Peter Robinson says. Preventing the bird strikes is important for conservation efforts too. FROM Page 14 Rylock HomePlus is New Zea- land s leading manufacturer of custom-made doors. Rylock HomePlus security doors and screens are custom made to ensure a proper fit. 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January 22nd 2013
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