Every couple of months I head North to Auckland to visit my two mothers. My mother and my stepmother both live in rest homes in South Auckland within a couple of kilometres of each other. I have been unable to visit them over the lock-down period, so it was nice to be able to see them again without restrictions. Both are doing really well and enjoyed my visit.
To make the most of the flights to and from Auckland, I decided to spend some time with my cousin in Coromandel. She is turning into a really good bird photographer also, so we have plenty to do when we are together. When I arrived on Thursday the weather was foul, windy and torrential rain for most of the journey from Auckland. So we planned some inside photographic projects in place of birds.
Friday was so different. The air was still, the sky was clear and the water at the beach across the road was very calm. So we got out our camp chairs and camera gear and sat with the shore birds for a while. The dotterels are in full breeding colours and look spectacular and they were not afraid of the cameras pointing in their direction.
The variable oystercatchers also put on a great show for us. Their skill at opening pipi shells was amazing to watch. They run around with the shellfish stuck on the beak before prying it open and consuming the contents. They appear to slurp them up then swallow without even having to lift their beak.
Later the same afternoon we headed out looking for fantails. We decided to go up a few side roads to see where they would take us. It is amazing how huge communities are hidden behind the hills and bush but in one of those communities there is a small alcove where there are a group of homes among the bush with fantails flitting around the roadside. We stopped the car, said hello to some of the locals and photographed the fantails.