As the main Salt Lake and the pools near the sea are all bone dry now and waiting for the first rains the waterbird count didn’t take too long. But there were some interesting birds at the Sewage Pools and in the Spiro’s Pool area – wherever there was some water. There were two adult and four immature Greater Flamingo at the Sewage Pools, where there are now several hundred Mallard and Shoveler and a good number of Teal. Waders included Ruff, Black-winged Stilt, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Redshank, Little Stint, Dunlin, Curlew and Marsh Sandpiper, Wood and Green Sandpiper, a lone Golden Plover and a flying visit from a Broad-billed Sandpiper. There was one Grey Heron and a Whiskered, White-winged and Gull-billed Tern. A juvenile Pallid Harrier passed over and five Marsh Harrier flew over just before 6.30am heading towards Cape Kiti.
Five Turtle Dove, many Spanish Sparrow, a Yellow Wagtail and a Willow Warbler were drinking from a puddle near the Desalination Plant and were joined by a Little Stint and a Broad-billed Sandpiper (which could have been the bird seen earlier at the Sewage Pools). Also in the area were several Marsh Sandpiper, several Common Ringed Plover, another Common Redshank and a Wood Sandpiper. Nearly thirty Kentish Plover were on Spiro’s Beach with more Common Ringed Plover. Five Shag were on the offshore buoys.
There were several Whinchat in the area and around the main Salt Lake together with several Red-backed Shrike, Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher, migrating Sand Martin, Barn Swallow and European Bee-eater.
And a sign of the change of seasons was a fly over from a White Wagtail – the first of the autumn.