Rare birds on the rise
A "bird census" has revealed a number of rare species are on the increase at Lake Ellesmere.
The annual Department of Conservation survey, which took place on February 9, counted all birds living on or around the shoreline of the lake.
DOC ranger Cody Frewin said about 55,750 birds, across 39 species, were counted.
There were 429 of the nationally vulnerable wrybill, compared to 128 last year and 125 in 2011.
Critically endangered black stilts were also spotted.
About 530 royal spoonbills were counted, which was encouraging as the species only started breeding at Lake Ellesmere last year, Frewin said.
The wide variety of birds showed how important the various natural habitats surrounding the lake were.
The survey involved volunteers and staff from several organisations, including the Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury.