“Not a lot of people know that”

These few words explain just what the FLOCK is trying to change. If it helps more people to know about shorebirds and their problems it is doing its job.
Sonny Whitelaw who is managing “FlockBRaid” tells us that there has been increased community involvement in conservation activities as a result their flock appearances.
The South Island is in all of our thoughts at the moment. For shore nesting birds like the Banded Dotterel at Kaikoura a 2-5m tsunami is devastating. Sonny also reports that the earthquake has totally blocked the Clarence River.

Staying in the South Island, the situation of the southern New Zealand Dotterel has become even more critical.


(photo Craig McKenzie)
The population recovered from only 11 pairs to 300 individuals but now it is crashing. John Dowding, a leading authority, predicts that the southern NZ Dotterel could be extinct in 3-4 years.

We don’t need to go too far back to a bird extinction.
 This is the last picture taken of the South Island Snipe, in 1964 by Don Merton, the famous bird conservationist.
There is a great deal of positive news. Birds for the Devonport event,(18-28 Nov) are still arriving at the Shorebird Centre. 3 car loads have made it to Devonport already. They will be joined by the huge numbers arriving from local Devonport schools and community groups on Friday at the Windsor Reserve.
One group that won’t be making the journey is the Godwit FLOCK from Muan Mongtan Middle School, South Korea. Here is a great, illustrated account from Andreas Kim.


Migration reversed …
While in March and February the arctic migrants heading north to the Yellow Sea and in September and October coming back to New Zealand, this year “The flock” migrated north in October.
As part of an ECO-class for the 3rd-graders in the Muan Mongtan Middle School the students learned about the close relation we have with birds living on tidal-flats, sharing the habitat and also food. Of course the students also learned about the tremendous journeys the shorebirds undertake every year in our flyway. And so consequently we decided to participate in “The Flock” project.
 Birds in the making
During the class the students, with support of teachers, created their birds. The Mongtan Middle School is located in the south-west corner of the R. O,K and the birds we can surely as New Zealand-birds from their leg-flags are almost entirely Bar-tailed Godwit and so this was the species we selected for our “Flock”.
The finished birds
Our field-trip on November 13th brought us, students, parents and teachers to Aphae Island, a site that hosts many Bar-tailed Gotwit from New Zealand and also Australia and so we selected a small sandbank that the birds use as roosting area on high tides.
The Flock on the sandbank roost
With “The Flock” roosting at almost high tide and at the exact same place as the birds do when on their migration our little flock made not only the connection to “The Flock” in New Zealand, but also to the birds that will return back to this place in a few months and with it hopefully widens the understanding that all our tidal-flats are so essential for our winged friends.
Students, parents and teachers with “The Flock”
This little flock, and sorry here the migration is not really reversed, will not head south to New Zealand to join the other many birds of “The Flock” but will find a place on the schoolyard.” Thanks Andreas! !


In Devonport one thing is very clear. A lot of people there DO KNOW ABOUT SHOREBIRDS. 

This is the shopfront of Bookmarks store.The upcoming Shorebird Festival is now a major discussion topic in the community. The Shorebird Film Festival on Sunday 20th is getting plenty of bookings, you can book online at


 In Australia FlockOz has had its first outing at the Adelaide Shorebird Festival. A great reception despite the weather.

Another group is starting up in Broome, W. Australia.

Finally, just in from Wakaaranga School are these photos of their birds who will arrive just in time to join us at Devonport.

Please share your photos and stories so that there will be lots more people who DO KNOW about our amazing shorebirds.


Source: The Flock

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