This past weekend I was lucky enough to take some time out of the Christmas chocolate madness to spend an afternoon with local birders, Sioux and Heather. We headed out to the Mangawhai Sandspit with the salty wind in our faces and the first view I got of the birds was as our boat reached the other side of the estuary. There they were, maybe five, all fluttering above us in a very dainty kind of way. And just at that moment I experienced a bit of Fairy Tern fabulousness. We then tiptoed across the widest expanse of slippery fish eggs I have ever seen and made our way to the viewing hut on top of the sand dune.
Sioux fixed the telescope on one of the two nests. Peering out were two fluffy bundles being fed perfectly bite sized meals of tiny fish by the Fairy Tern parents. It was hard to stick to the "no disturbance" policy that is kept by the protectors of the Fairy Tern as there is an overwhelming urge to get closer to the incredible little birds.
It’s difficult to fully appreciate the amount of time and genuine care that these volunteers put into the guardianship of the Fairy Tern but from my few hours spent out on the dune it is easy to understand their passion. It’s 16 years since Clayton and I decided to make the Fairy Tern a resounding symbol in our business. At that stage we hadn’t expected the community support the bird would come to receive. This support culminated in the huge amount of love and fierce protection found in Mangawhai being recognised nationwide as the Fairy Tern won the Seabird of the Year 2014.
Next time you're in Bennetts pop any spare change you have in our Fairy Tern wishing fountain or have a look at our Fairy Tern chocolate box - all profits go to the Fairy Tern Trust!
It is a privilege to have the opportunity to help in the effort to protect this magical bird!