Sunday, August 23, 2009

Miranda Bird Sanctuary

Along the Miranda coast we walked extensive shellbanks (chenier
ridges) and discussed their formation and surrounding mudflat-mangrobe
ecosystem. Followed by lunch and a talk by Keith Woodley on migratory
birds at the Miranda Bird Sancutary. Most everyone found the NZ-China-
Alaska migration pathway of shorebirds like the bar-tailed goblet
fascinating; crossing vast stretches of the pacific in single hops of
8 days and burning off half it's body weight. Keith's alternative
explanations of the origin of the wrybills sideways-curving beak were
entertaing as well; jet-lag may have contributed to some belief in
their bending them by colliding with the cliffs at the head of the
firth as juvinelles (rather than an adaption to picking food from
under rocks in braided river systems.)

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