Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Rain & Shine!

Cold NZ dotterel eggs
Well yesterday was a really wet start. It was tipping down and the usual stunning views were shrouded in a thick white mist. However we sheltered under a rather large umbrella well kitted up in waterproofs and gradually the bird life improved as the weather brightened up. The dotterels were running around herding their new born chicks who were foraging for themselves and the Oystercatcher parents were busy having to feed their three fast growing young.

 The Caspian Tern did a flyby heading up river and the gannets vertically dived from great heights out to sea. Today we were looking for a pair of Fairy terns but only the male showed up on two occasions. On the  second visit it  spent a couple of hours hovering then diving and catching decent sized fish in the river.

Non native flowers in the dunes with oystercatcher tracks
 I believe it has two types of dive. One a vertical rather like a Caspian dive and the other a shallower dip into the water to catch a fish. It vocalised when catching a rather large fish as if very pleased with itself and spent some time just standing on the beach as if waiting for a female to accept to then be allowed to mate with her. Sadly no female came and in the end he swallowed the fish then spent some time thoroughly preening himself.

Late afternoon was sunny and clear as we headed across private farmland to another beach access location. The lupins and other non native plants added colour to the patches of muehlenbeckia standing out like islands in the  sand-dunes. Several dotterels and a pair of oystercatcher with nest scrapes were present. A lone dotterel chick ran from near an abandoned nest with two very cold possibly infertile eggs.