New Zealand Dotterel

December/January Road Trip – Part 7

dotterel-blog-3If you have been following our trip then you will know we headed to Coromandel next.  Actually we stayed at a B&B at Kereta, a little bit before Coromandel.  From there we drove around many of the bays in search of the New Zealand Dotterels.dotterel-blog-2

I was there two years ago to attend a wedding and found the dotterels with chicks.  It was my hope to find chicks again on this trip but I believe we were a few days early for them.  The first beach we stopped at we were immediately confronted with a ‘broken wing’ dance by a dotterel.  This meant that we were close to a nest and indeed there was an area not far away that had been roped off for protection.dotterel-blog-1Rather than upset the bird too much I seated myself in my chair a good distance from the nest and waited without moving until the bird relaxed and returned to its nest.  It didn’t take long, as soon as my husband had moved out of the area the bird quite happily ignored me and the camera.

dotterel-blog-5Not long after that I saw another dotterel heading over towards the nest in an aggressive low body stance.  Immediately the sitting bird rose and puffed her feathers out to increase her size (I am assuming it’s a she) and chased off the intruder.  It was fast and if you blinked you would have missed it but the territory was defended successfully.dotterel-blog-6

dotterel-blog-7There were three nests that I could see in the area but I will concentrate on only one in this post. For a while I was a little concerned watching the bird that she had her beak open constantly, then it dawned on me that it was probably her way of trying to keep cool.  It was fiercely hot on the beach and there was no shade.  I noted that the bird on one of the other nests was doing the same also.dotterel-blog-4The one time that she did get off the nest to chase off some people who happened to walk by I quickly photographed the area where she had been sitting.  I couldn’t see what I was photographing so just hoped I had something useful.  If you look to the centre of the image near the yellow leaves you will see three speckled eggs.dotterel-blog-8

I would have loved to have come back in a week’s time to photograph the chicks but by that time I was back in Wellington with several thousand images to process.  Next time I will try to time it better.

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