Between 20th and 24th March, 2023, A team from EAAFP Secretariat, together with Hanns Seidel Foundation visited Robert Findlay Wildlife Reserve, Firth of Thames, Flyway Network Site in New Zealand, companied by our Partner, Pukorokoro Miranda Naturalist Trust (PMNT). The visit allowed the EAAFP team and Partners to know more about the site, and work of Partners and discuss future and potential collaboration.
The Team included Ms. Hyeseon Do (Senior Programme Officer) Ms. Vivian Fu (Senior Communication Officer), Ms. Yeonah Ku (External Relations Specialist) and Dr. Hyunah Choi from Hanns Seidel Foundation, Korea (EAAFP Partner). On 21st March, guided by Dr. David Lawrie (EAAFP Focal Point of PMNT) and Ms. Jennifer George (Former EAAFP Consultant), the team observed over 2,000 South Island Oystercatcher, 1,000 Pied Stilt, 500 Bar-tailed Godwit, 500 Wrybill, 200 Red Knot, and various waterbird species, just at the gate of the site! They also met Dr. Phil Battley, who was counting shorebirds at the time, to share the situation of waterbirds at the site and his studies. Then the team continues to walk around and watch birds at the Reserve, where they were impressed by the simple-structured but effective bird hides (built by volunteers!) at the site.
Firth of Thames, Flyway Network Site in New Zealand © EAAFP Secretariat
Bird hide at Firth of Thames, managed by Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre © EAAFP Secretariat
After that, the team visited the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre not far away from the Reserve, where another key person of PMNT, Mr. Keith Woodley greeted the team at the centre. The centre has a small session of exhibition, souvenir shop, pantry and toilets. The team had a meeting with the EAAFP Partners, who briefed about their work and plan with each other, and discussed potential collaboration.
On 21st and 22nd March, the team visited several ecotourism spots, namely Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and Tiritiri Matangi Island, which is one of the top birdwatching sites near Auckland. It was a good opportunity for the team to experience sustainable ecotourism, which would be a good reference for the other sites in the Flyway.