Crossland, A. (2009). Monthly abundance of Eastern Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica baueri in Central Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand. Stilt, 55, 16-19.
Published in 2009 by ornithologist Andrew Crossland, the purpose of this paper was to report on the relative abundance of Bar-tailed Godwits (Kuaka) throughout the course of the year in Canterbury, New Zealand. This idea arose from a series of debates at the time which suggested that different areas in the East-Asian Australasian Flyway may experience peak summer numbers of kuaka in different months.
To achieve this, a full census of kuaka was made at six different sites in Central Canterbury once per month between May 1992 and July 1993. The sites were Brooklands Lagoon, the Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Upper Lyttleton Harbour, Ashley Saltwater Creek Estuary, Wairewa Lake Forsyth, and Te Waihora Lake Ellesmere. Overall, the highest numbers of kuaka in Central Canterbury were counted in January 1993, yet, November was the established summer wader census period for New Zealand. The Avon-Heathcote Estuary was also clearly the core site for kuaka in Canterbury, supporting 64-100% of the regional population.
These results demonstrated the value of undertaking synchronised counts across key sites in a region to gain a better understanding of species seasonal abundance and distribution patterns. The report therefore concluded by emphasising the value in undertaking similar projects in the future to build up knowledge of both migratory shorebirds and native waterbirds in Aotearoa New Zealand.