- I am not a birder or even a birder in training.
- Serious birders will wait [patiently] all day.
- Devoted birders will wait all week, for the bird to strike the perfect pose, the perfect, desired bird species to appear.
- After about half an hour (few seconds in birding time) my thoughts start to wander.
I went to check out one of New Zealand’s premier birding locations for shorebirds – Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre. It is enthusiasm on speed for all things bird. A great place for everyone to support New Zealand as birds are our top wildlife species.
For other trips and holiday inspiration check out Auckland Road Trips.
Depart Auckland on state highway one and follow the signs to the Coromandel.
Miranda Shore Bird Centre – Access to bird hides
The trail from the limestone quarry site to the first hide is wheelchair accessible. From this point onwards there are stiles (several) that are not difficult to navigate due to strong supporting posts and wide steps. The stiles also provide good elevated views of the birds. Just be careful trying to take a photograph while balancing on the stile.
The bird trail is well signposted explaining historic farming and quarrying impact on the land as well as regeneration efforts to restore the landscape for the birds. Human settlement from the fourteen century was given a context with the name Miranda coming from a gunship that was used to subdue the local Maori villages (during the nineteenth century land wars). Local iwi participation in regeneration effects was acknowledged and the importance of the Hauraki Gulf for traditional fish netting and food gathering practices elaborated.
Arrival and ‘i’ Site introduction to all things bird …
I got to meet a Miranda spokesperson who was assisting an overseas birding group who had settled in for the wait for mid-tide to arrive. It was currently a low tide. The wait period was approximately 3 hours. I thought about waiting for several seconds. Perhaps next time I would get the tides right …
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
Tides and bird viewing. The ideal time is 2 hours either side of the tide. I had inadvertently misread the tide. As had the tour leader for the American birders, coffee, tea and biscuits and relaxing waiting for the moment was another perfect start to their New Zealand birding experience. While I was going to check out the birds regardless of the tide. As a result of my actions I knew that birding was not going to be consuming passion … not just yet.
I spent three hours walking the trail route and exploring the chenier ridged beach nearby. I got used to spotting birds against the smudged shell beach.
The landscape has no dominant features. You spend time contemplating sand, sea, shells, water and sky with the seamless ribbon of flat expense before you. At first, the view seemed flat and uninteresting, I thought about how I am going to photograph this for my blog.
Then the shades of white, cream with dashes of deep hues slashed with water lights emerged.
Miranda white heron
I started my colour exploration by glimpsing what it was like to be hidden in the grass and see life (as a bird) from the perspective of being very small and hidden.
I got thinking about the rodent and pest traps around the beach. Traps seemed a good idea as being a bird did not seem all that safe when it came to life expectancy.
Child friendly activity Using the shop resources for children they could be encouraged to view the landscape from a bird’s perspective. The shoreline is not a swimming beach, those are just around the corner (actually a few corners) on your way back to Auckland. (see Pohutukawa Coast post)
Gifts and Souvenirs Miranda Shore Bird Centre has an excellent gift shop. It is definitely worth a visit for a New Zealand focused gifts, either cups, tea towels, placemats, jewelry, prints, maps, pottery, water bottles, and trinkets. There is good quality merchandise focused on marketing New Zealand birds. The shop has a section outlining bird lives and times, the importance of the coast in bird lives, human impact, and history of the area as well as brochures and pamphlets on things bird. The shop is worth a visit even if you are not interested in birds. Your purchase supports New Zealand wildlife (birds).
Geothermal hot pools – And there are hot pools in Miranda
Miranda Holiday Park has its own hot pool complex for holiday park guests which is set in a landscaped garden.
Additionally, there are public hot pools adjacent to the Holiday Park. Miranda Hot Springs is a large public pool with four private tubs available for hire. The private tubs have recently undergone a makeover. The public pools are clean however their appearance is tired. When I visited the Miranda Hot Springs the staff were very welcoming.
Miranda Hot Springs public pool
No, dogs are prohibited.
Thank you birders, for your devotion to all things bird. Perhaps I have got my bird labels photos wrong. It was magic sharing the space with the birds. Birds without borders, our annual visitors who have been near and far for a millennium.
I know I will be back.
The journey is worth it.