A Disappointing Start

This is the first post in my 2018 Christmas South Island Road Trip series with Steve Richards.

The Wairau Lagoons, just outside of Blenheim was to be our first port of call on our latest trip south this Christmas. We were there to find and photograph the Glossy Ibis, of which we saw only one, but it was seen at a great distance away. However, what we did see up close was heartbreaking.

An hour out from dark, cats started to make an appearance. Not just one or two but perhaps as many as half a dozen were seen as we walked back to the car.

Cute Kitten, but disastrous to bird life and Lizards.


The kitten above, may look cute pouncing on a feather, but this kitten will grow into a bird killing machine. Something that has no positive contribution to the wildlife out on the Wairau Lagoons.

This adult may have been seen twice by us even though it was hunting in the opposite direction.


Where did these cats come from, how did they get there? Who knows …but they are there and there in numbers.

This may have been a bit of a disappointment, but it certainly did not set the stage for the rest of our 3 weeks in the South Island.

The next stage of our trip was to be an overland trip through the Molesworth Station, a red line on the map (never been there before) for both Steve and myself.

Wild Roses were flowering the entire length of the 2-day trip through the farm bringing soft colours to the green landscape.

Moggy needs to eat, no one can hold that against the cat itself, but this is no place for a Bird Killing feline.

It was great to see a good sized breeding colony of kōtuku ngutupapa or Royal Spoonbill at the Wairau Lagoons on our trip south this Christmas. I call them Goony Birds as they can act like real clowns at times.


Next up will be Molesworth and our quest for the Black-fronted Tern.

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6 thoughts on “A Disappointing Start

  1. de Wets Wild

    I don’t think many people realise the havoc feral cats can wreak on bird populations, especially in places where the birds evolved without that kind of predatory pressure, like New Zealand.

    1. Tony Fluerty Post author

      With the amount of chatter going on now in this Country through social media and national news programmes, people have less and less excuse to remain ignorant.
      Our Birdlife and the issues around protecting it is in the press daily. People simply don’t care.

      1. de Wets Wild

        It may sound heartless, but in many respects the “animal rights” movements and charities have a lot of explaining to do for their role in this predicament. Dare suggest that these feral cats in wildlife areas be shot on sight on any public platform, and you’re likely to be crucified.

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