We're back to our three favourite East coast beaches on a stunning Autumn day. After walking through the forest this vista opens up before us. To me its always like visiting for the first time because the scene is always different. Its a dynamic environment. Today the river looks formidable more like a lake to cross.
With an incoming tide and an offshore breeze the waves with champagne spray are spectacular. We find a shallow place to cross to avoid our usual wade and catch sight of this rare, very cautious and shy reef heron. We studied it for two hours as it stalked its prey of small fish by hunching in the shape of a stealth fighter before stabbing its long and powerful beak into the water.
Very difficult to get close, I did try by crawling but it was onto me as soon as I raised my camera above the sand dunes. We also saw the familiar pied stilt family still together and dotterels and oystercatchers all finished with breeding for the season.
Rauparaha's copper, enjoying a warm sheltered spot in the dunes so we did the same enjoying our picnic lunch nearby.