Jack Tame: Walk your dog elsewhere, Jafas

Take your dog somewhere else. Photo / Malcolm Pullman
Take your dog somewhere else. Photo / Malcolm Pullman

It's fair to say the lads are not traditionally keen birdwatchers, especially when enjoying their summer holiday break.

Beer drinkers? Yes. Beach cricketers? For sure. But bird-watching is not usually top of our summer list.

Returning from holiday this weekend though, the boys and I stopped by the Waipu Reserve for a bit of a dip and a stretch.

It's a glorious bay, with wetlands and white sand and water as clear as the stuff that comes out of your kitchen tap.

In the little carpark, dog-ban signs and warnings stand next to a fairy tern information board.

They're fairly hard to miss.

I've never seen a kiwi in the wild. I've never seen a takahe. At Waipu beach on a Friday afternoon, a 10-minute walk from the car, I certainly didn't expect to encounter our most critically endangered native bird. But we did.

Delicate and fine, with legs as thin as pencil lead, the fairy tern paused for our photos then turned and flapped away.

I was, frankly, stunned.

I love a well-behaved dog as much as anyone but dog owners are a bit like drivers in that they often have an warped perception of their own control and an inflated self-importance.

I doubt it's the locals to blame for scaring off the fairy terns. You'd have to be a prize prick to drive up from Auckland, ignore the warnings and walk Fido on the beach at Waipu.

Walk your dog somewhere else.

See also - Thoughtlessness proves lethal to rare birds' coastal nesting spots

- Herald on Sunday

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