Endangered bird undertakes 300km trip

16:00, Nov 19 2012
Shore plover
HOMING INSTINCT: The rare endangered shore plover at Lake Ellesmere.

A rare bird travelled about 300 kilometres to return home to Canterbury.

The critically endangered shore plovers are bred in captivity at Peacock Springs before being released on Mana Island, off the coast of Wellington, at the beginning of each year. Most remain there.

However, a lone bird was spotted by Press photographer David Hallett at Lake Ellesmere this month.

Peacock Springs manager Anne Richardson said it was the first time they had seen a shore plover return to the region since the breeding programme started 18 years ago.

Richardson suspected the bird, which could be identified by its leg tags, had been caught in a strong wind that brought it back to the South Island.

She said the bird was now "hanging out" with a group of wrybills.

If the bird made its way to Peacock Springs it would be trapped and returned to Mana Island.

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