Five teams surveyed the river from the Valetta Bridge to the coast.
Unconfirmed results include the black-billed gull colony beside SH1 bridge has dropped in numbers to about 750. They are getting on with breeding. No other black-billed gull colonies were seen. Hopefully, they will show up somewhere else on the ECan funded braided river flyover to be carried out this week.
Black-fronted tern numbered a great 173, banded dotterel 224, and black-fronted dotterel 44. There were also 337 pied stilts and 60 South Island Pied Oystercatchers (SIPO).
There were 5761 southern black-backed gulls counted over long reaches of the river. Along with the extensive masses of tree lupin (see photo below), this must be having a detrimental impact.
The total number of rare and endangered braided river birds counted, however, just shows that despite the impact of lupins and predatory black-backed gulls, the Ashburton still deserves its significant status.
Thank you very much to the out of towners and locals for making the day a success.
The Upper Ashburton will be surveyed on Saturday 21st November with a good chance to see the unspoiled remnants of the Ashburton River.