Annual Garden Bird Survey, 26 June to 04 July 2021

The annual New Zealand Garden Bird Survey runs from 26 June to 04 July 2021. You just need to keep an eye on the garden for one hour on one day and report the birds that show up.

Healthy bird populations can indicate that the environment is healthy. We know lots about endangered native birds in the bush, but we don’t always know what’s happening in the populations of all the birds around us, particularly in urban and garden environments.

Here are some of the birds you might see around Waikawa Beach: hawks, Canada Geese, fantails, waxeyes, ring-neck doves, pheasants, Eastern Rosellas, tūī, magpies, shags, swallows. What’s in your backyard?

Part of a bird identification sheet.
Part of a bird identification sheet.

Bizarrely, Waikawa Beach and Manakau also at Alert Level 2

A keen-eyed person on the Waikawa Beach Facebook group noticed this official information today at Wellington | Unite against COVID-19:

Wellington region moved to Alert Level 2 at 6pm on Wednesday 23 June [2021]. This area includes Ōtaki, Waikawa Beach, Manakau, Wairarapa, and Kāpiti Coast. This measure will remain in place until 11:59pm Sunday 27 June.

That seemed wrong because Waikawa Beach and Manakau aren’t in Wellington region so I emailed the officials. They directed me to the Boundary Map which confirms we are included in Level 2.

Level 2 boundary map includes Waikawa Beach and Manakau.
Level 2 boundary map includes Waikawa Beach and Manakau.

The text below reads, in part:

The Greater Wellington region boundary includes Ōtaki, Waikawa Beach, Manakau, Wairarapa, Kāpiti Coast, and also the islands within the Wellington Regional Boundary.

  • Commencing on the mean high-water mark of the west coast of the North Island at the mouth of the Waikawa Stream
  • proceeding in a generally north easterly direction along the south bank of the Waikawa stream to intersect with Waikawa Beach Road then along Waikawa Beach Road to intersect SH1

The main Level 2 requirements are to keep your distance, get tested and otherwise stay home if you’re sick, no more than 100 people at social gatherings.

Horizons rates to increase

Horizons Regional Council adopts their 2021-31 Long-term Plan, 22 June 2021:

Horizons Regional Council today adopted its 2021-31 Long-term Plan.

The Long-term Plan (LTP) will guide the way Horizons manages the region’s land, air and water resources, and how they will help to make this part of New Zealand a great place to live, work and play. …

“Following submissions and deliberations, Council has identified which work programmes we will continue and which will require increased expenditure.

“This includes additional funding for Council’s priorities areas of freshwater, climate change and biodviersity, as well as public transport, environmental education and some changes to river management schemes. …

As a result of today’s resolutions, rates for Year 1 will be increasing by an average of 8.4 per cent across the region, an average of 8.2 per cent for Year 2, and an average of 6.5 per cent for Year 3.

“It is important to keep in mind that these rate increases are only an average and the rate impact will differ from district to district due to factors such as changes to property values, and specific rating inputs such as river schemes and urban passenger transport rates for certain areas,” says Cr Keedwell. …

Anyone wanting to check what their next rates invoice will look like can use the rates search tool available here.

Researcher warns: homes should not be built close to the shoreline

Building future homes by shoreline not sustainable, researcher warns:

A study by New Zealand and European researchers says sea-level rise will have severe consequences, and long-term property planning needs to begin urgently.

Study co-author Dr Judy Lawrence from the Climate Change Research Institute at Victoria University warned rising sea levels will affect properties in the future, and said New Zealanders should not build their homes close to the shoreline.

Lawrence said New Zealanders often want to build their property near the edge of the water – but they should not.

Rare black Fantail at Waikawa Beach

Chris Marsh kindly sent us a couple of photos of a rare black Fantail or Piwakawaka. Chris said:

The image is poor due to being taken in twilight and the bird constantly moving but we have a black fantail flitting about at our property in Emma Drive. I think these birds are quite scarce/rare.

When we check New Zealand Birds Online we learn that it is indeed rare:

There are two colour forms or ‘morphs’ of fantail, with the more common pied morph occurring throughout its range, and the black morph comprising up to 5% of the South Island population, and occasionally occurring in the North Island.

Black Fantail.
Black Fantail.
Black Fantail.
Black Fantail.

Many thanks Chris.