Manawatū Estuary at Foxton Beach

This weekend Karen and myself decided to go check out the Manawatū Estuary at Foxton Beach to hopefully spy some godwits that have landed and the famous rare little egret. Eastern bar-tailed godwits begun arriving in New Zealand after marathon flight from Alaska, with the estuary providing an ideal feeding ground. Here they can be seen around the dotterels, plovers and other shore birds.

Godwit foraging at low tide

Spoonbill Landing

Royal Spoonbill

A small flock of spoonbill were foraging along the front of the viewing area in the low tide. It was incredible seeing these unusual birds up close and seeing how they forage in the shallow water.



The striking wings of the shovelers as they flew past was what really caught my eye. Admittedly, I didn't see they were a different kind of 'duck' so wasn't until they flew I turned my camera onto them!

White Faced Heron

White faced heron

There were so many of these birds foraging in the mud flats. We watched a pair perform a mating 'dance' before heading off into the reeds. Seeing them fly is always impressive, looking a lot bigger in the sky.


The Godwits

A small flock of godwits were just starting to form at the estuary, each year returning to this location for the summer feeding grounds. Soon, the mudflats will be covered in them.

Little Egret

Karen spotted this egret further down the path and after photographing him walking into the grasses he ever so kindly flew right in front of the viewing platform and posed beautifully for some photos!

This was quite a treat as this bird is only a visitor to NZ, and they estimate there is less than half a dozen in the country at any one time.