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Over time this section will include content that will point readers to areas of research that has either been done or projects that are in progress. It will also include sections on how and where to record sightings and areas where identification of species can be found or questions asked. This page is still under development but please feel free to contact the developer via the submission form under the support MET tab with any additional groups or sites that you feel should be included. With global warming and the more expansive movements of some animals and plants that seems to be occurring, recording programs which, at the moment seem not to be relevant to the area are included as they may be in the future, bearing in mind that in the past couple of years Sea Turtles and Sea Snakes have been found on local beaches and in December 2023 a Hector's/Maui Dolphin was seen off the coast.

Links are included but may take on the form of a logo rather than the standard method adopted throughout the rest of the website. 
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Currently, records submitted go to a central database which feeds into the New Zealand Bird Atlas. When this finishes in May 2024 records will still be stored and data used for a variety data sets. Registration is required and once this is done, the easiest way to get started is to click on the submit button, then using the "find it on a map" section, locate the recording site and give it a name. This will then be registered and can be found from your drop-down list on that page. Press continue and what follows is self-explanatory. This is a global database and can be used to enter sightings from anywhere in the world and also allows species to be searched for and location lists give an idea of what in an area that may be of interest.

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Again this is a global database in which records can be entered from anywhere in the world. It also allows you to search for species and location lists. Registration is required but is fairly straight forward. Once done, open site and click add observation and follow instructions, Once this is done entries can be made, ideally with a photograph as this then allows verification of the species if needed.


The Estuary is a very important area for migrating birds and over the years much research has been done on these global travelers, many of which have covered over a hundred thousand kilometers in their lifetime. New technology is now being used to track these birds but can't be applied to all because of the expense involved. For many years metal bands have been used, inscribed with a unique number and the banding scheme to which the details are related to, in the case of Aotearoa New Zealand it is the Department of Conservation. More recently colour bands of various types are applied to birds legs. Where metal banded birds really need to be caught again to be read with certainty, coloured bands can be read in the field and submitted to DOC on the sightings form which lists all the information required and how to read the band layout correctly. The Estuary is an ideal place to participate but please take a photograph if you can and submit along with sightings form. Limited details are listed under each species accounts where any is known.

After a major weather event the group of animals most likely to be affected are sea birds, species that live most of their lives on the open ocean, only coming ashore to breed. Individuals can be washed up on beaches and although, most are dead, they can still provide valuable data so please record fatalities via Seabird Beach Patrol Scheme. Identification can, in some case, be made by shape of the bill which is quite distinctive in many species. Thank to Birds NZ four identification cards (no.1 no.2  no.3  no.4)  are available here. These can be downloaded and laminated or photographs taken for later reference but please record. If a band is present please record on the form listed above.                                                                  

A tagging program operates for New Zealand Sea Lions and while they are mostly restricted to the lower South Island they are becoming more numerous with reports of individuals wandering further afield so keep an eye for any plastic flipper tags if you are lucky enough to see one. Other means of tracking are employed but are used only  by professionals with the right equipment. Remember the safety guidelines of not approaching closer than 10 m but photographs can be taken and enlarged on a computer which will help in reading the number. Details can be recorded on Sea Lion Tags  which also has heaps of other interesting information. The Sea Lion Trust is also a good general website.                                        

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ARDS is the Amphibian and Reptile Distribution Scheme administered by DOC to plot distribution and occurrence of these species that are reported from Aotearoa New Zealand. Frogs (endemic and introduced), geckos, skinks, Tuatara, sea snakes and sea turtles are included and data can be found on the atlas via a drop-down list of over a hundred species with both common and scientific names given for easy location. Each species contains data and a map, which unfortunately gives a location and not actual sites where recorded. Difficult with common species but for sparsely recorded species such as sea snakes and sea turtles specific locations would have been good. A recording form for observations is given here.

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Found exclusively in certain coastal waters around the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand, Māui Dolphin is the world's smallest and rarest dolphin, with an estimated 65 individuals left in the wild. Hector's Dolphin is very similar and found mainly around the South Island with a few stragglers making it further north. Both being the only dolphins in Aotearoa New Zealand to have a rounded dorsal fin so both are easily identifiable as a species and because of their rarity any sightings should be recorded. This can be done using a link via this page which also contains other valuable information and links. See Mammals for reporting other whale and dolphin sightings.



Many Facebook groups have been set up to cover a wide range of subjects, mainly on a national basis but are included because they could be relevant to the the area and are a useful platform to upload photographs onto if you want an identification. Likewise many national conservation organisations have posts which are also worth seeing. As such, listed below are a number of sites but please use the search tool on  Facebook to check them out - some you need to join before being able to open but each will explain, None are included as links as an extra security safeguard and it is up to the individual to make the choice.

Manawatū Estuary Trust                                                Wildlife Foxton Trust                                  Forest and Bird

New Zealand Native Orchids                                         New Zealand Bird Identification                Insects and Invertebrates of New Zealand

Native Plants of Aotearoa (New Zealand)                    New Zealand Garden Bird Survey             New Zealand Lizard Identification       

Mushrooms of New Zealand                                         New Zealand Birders                                  Wildlife of New Zealand

The New Zealand Epiphyte Network                            Fernbirds                                                     Orca Watch New Zealand

Environmental Protection Authority NZ                       Cetacean Spotting NZ - Whale and Dolphin Watch New Zealand                             Bittern Conservation New Zealand                               Nature New Zealand                                   Whale and Dolphin Watch - Wellington        Godwits New Zealand                                                    Moths and Butterflies of NZ Trust



Most records that are available just give Foxton Beach as a location but would be good, with help, to go through this list and give each a code(s) of where seen. The list can be viewed here but please bare in mind that it is far from complete and still a work in progress that needs peer reviewing. It  is included as an excel file for people to have a look at and get an idea of how valuable an area this is. There are notations in some area for further research which will be followed up at some point. There are still species to classify correctly (and to add) and arrange so please take at face value but contact me via the form under the Support MET tab if you have any comments.  Up-dates will be added as and when but feel free to download. 

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