DU member Diana Chetwin was surprised to spot a rare visitor from the south and now her sighting has been officially confirmed.
On December 2017 I was helping to launch a boat at Sandy Bay, Te Awaiti, South Wairarapa, when I heard the sound of pied stilts; looking down the beach, I saw two birds take flight. One appeared to be darker than the other.
After launching the boat, I walked along to the next bay to see if the birds had landed there. Sure enough, they were fossicking in the rock pools as it was low tide. One was a black and white stilt and the other was clearly a black stilt (kakī).
I had my little camera and was able to get close enough to get a few pictures, but not so close as to disturb them again. The black stilt was banded, but unfortunately it was standing behind a low rock ledge so the feet and coloured leg bands could not be seen properly.
The sighting was reported to the Department of Conservation and the breeding programme at Twizel in Canterbury. Conversations with people there revealed that the black and white stilt was a hybrid from breeding with a black stilt and the other was clearly a black stilt in the North Island.
My photos only showed the bands on one leg, so they were unable to provide any more information on its breeding, but it was definitely from the South Island.
Climate conditions before the sighting were exceptionally dry for the month but there had been rain the week before. No storms though.
The sighting was reported to the Ornithological Society of New Zealand as an unusual bird recording and officially recorded