Spotted shags and a few red-billed gulls roost in the
Andersons Bay inlet this month. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Only one spotted shag remains of the feathered ''fishing
fleet'' which flew into Dunedin recently to munch on mullet and
It was unusual for the big flocks of spotted shags to spend
more than a few hours in Otago Harbour but this time they
stayed for four days, ornithologist Dr Jill Hamel said.
While the rest had flown off, one solitary shag remained on
the roost near eastern Marne St in the Andersons Bay inlet.
''It's sitting there all on its own but it'll probably fly
The rocky inlet was a safe place for the fishing fleet of
birds to rest, sleep and conserve energy, she said. The
''cloud'' of birds was likely to have been feeding on young
With the flock gone, the ''regulars'' had returned to their
usual roosting spots, she said.
The species that had been seen roosting there recently
included black-backed gulls, black oyster-catchers, little
shags, spoonbills, pied stilts, paradise ducks and red-billed
''At high tide, it's extremely well used, with up to 10
species on it.''
Since the roost was constructed in 2009, she had seen 14
species of birds use the it, Dr Hamel said.
The greatest number of different species she had seen using
the roost at one time was nine, she said.
Usually, a dozen birds roosted on the rocks and having so
many birds flocking would have surprised some locals.
''It would have been a shock to the residents.''