Introduction

Find out about field trips at the Miranda Wildlife Reserve, a wetland home to thousands of wading and shore birds.

What's special about Miranda

Birds galore

The Firth's 8,500 hectares of inter-tidal flats support some 40,000 birds. 60 shorebird species, of which 24 are migratory wading birds. They include godwits, the dramatic looking eastern curlew and the tiny red-necked stint.

Long distance fliers

Many of Miranda's migratory wading birds make an arduous 10,000 km journey from the Arctic circle to arrive in spring (October) and fly north again in the autumn (mid-March). On their northern migration godwits, the most common Arctic wader at Miranda, are believed to make one stopover, in the Yellow Sea region of China, Korea and Japan, where they may almost double their normal body weight to fuel the next 5000 km leg of the journey. Arctic terns can travel up to one million kilometres during a 30 year lifetime!

Hazardous flightpath

The waderbirds' migration is one of nature's miracles. Not only must the birds survive wind, weather and huge distances, they must also contend with the reclamation and pollution of their mudflat stopovers and mass hunting. A million Arctic migrants are shot for food each year.

Banding and tracking the birds

The Miranda Naturalists' Trust is part of an international movement monitoring the birds and promoting protection of tidal mudflats along the waderbirds' flyway. While at Miranda ornithologists attach a small white plastic flag and band to a bird's upper leg. As reports of sightings filter in, a more complete picture of their perilous journeys can be put together, along with statistics to help persuade governments to preserve vital mid-journey habitats.

An internationally ranked wetland

Miranda is listed as an internationally important wetland under the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Nature Resources Ramsar Convention. The Miranda Taramaire Government Purpose Wildlife Management Reserve is a few minutes up the coast from the shorebird centre and is administered by DOC.

Planning a visit

Getting there

From Auckland turn off State Highway 1 to Thames and follow the signs to Miranda or follow the Scenic Highway along the coast from Clevedon. The Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre is on the coast south of Kaiaua.

Facilities

The Miranda Naturalists' Trust operates an excellent visitor information centre across the road from the shellbanks. You will find displays, an educational shop (usually closed during school visits), toilets and a telephone. There is no food or drink available at the centre except tea and coffee and hot water (for which donations are requested).

Visits need to be organised through the Miranda Naturalists Trust, phone +64 9 232 2781.

Accommodation for school groups can be arranged at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre. Bunkrooms and units can accommodate up to 35 people.

Check the Trust's website: 
www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz.

The nearest store for food and drink is at Kaiaua.

Be prepared

What you need to bring

Good walking shoes, warm clothes and wet weather gear, binoculars, sunblock, hat, food and drinking water.

Teaching resources

Shorebirds of Pukorokoro Miranda is an educational resource designed to match the modern curriculum. It includes background material, guides for teachers planning a visit and suggested activities.

A pre-trip visit to the site by the trip leader is recommended to enable the best organisation for class/es on the day.

The Miranda Naturalists' Trust offers talks and guided programmes (maximum two classes or 60 students) using the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre as a base. All educational levels are catered for.

Help wetlands and wildlife

The mudflats, marshes and shellbanks are fragile environments and many of the birds who frequent them are also sensitive to human disturbances. If possible, please organise your visit through the Miranda Naturalists' Trust who will guide you through the area to ensure minimum impact on the environment. If you make your own way please ensure your students don't trample on vegetation or frighten the birds.

If you find an injured bird or see anyone disturbing the birds please contact DOC or the Miranda Naturalists' Trust.

Miranda Wildlife refuge map

View a regional map that includes the Miranda Wildlife refuge.

Miranda Wildlife Refuge and Wetlands map.

Contact

Miranda Naturalists' Trust
RD 1 Pokeno
Phone +64 9 232 2781 
Email: shorebird@xtra.co.nz
Website: www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz

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