I have never really been a beach person, at least not until I found bird photography. Now I go there for the birds whenever I get the opportunity. Recently I took a few of my friends to one of my favourite places for bird photography, the Coromandel Peninsula. We stayed at a house right on the beach front in Kereta where there were dotterels right outside the back door. While I did manage a few images of these dotterels, the tides were against us and made it a little difficult light wise to capture anything special. Instead we traveled around past Coromandel township to a few of the bays where I knew the dotterels would be nesting.
Our first stop was Kuaotunu Beach. I have successfully photographed NZ dotterels here in the past and was pretty sure we would find some. We were not disappointed. We found a pair with a single chick. The chick was quite large and while it didn’t fly away when it’s parents did, it wasn’t far off doing so. Unfortunately it being such a lovely day, there were lots of people visiting the beach to swim and play in the small stream beside the dotterels roped off area. They were not very happy about all the people and we didn’t want to upset them further, so after a short stop we moved on to Luke’s Kitchen for lunch. If you are ever at Kuaotunu and hungry, Luke’s is the place to go!
After lunch we headed to Whangapoua Beach in search of other dotterel families and again we were not disappointed. This time it was a dotterel sitting on a chick and one egg. As we walked up to the roped off area the ranger was checking the bird to see if her eggs were hatching, so it was a case of being in the right place at the right time. I didn’t manage to get an image of the bird off the nest but my cousin did and I am very envious of her images. The ranger then told us of several newly hatched chicks at another beach, so we hopped back into the car and headed to Matarangi.
As soon as we arrived we saw tiny chicks running about the same dunes and we settled our camp chairs down and spent and enjoyable time photographing the cuteness. They were not bothered by us at all, but they were very quick as they scooted all over the place. The parent birds were struggling to keep up with their frisky offspring. By this time the sun was really burning down and we all decided that we had enough images. So we headed back to Kereta to soak in the spa. Bliss!