Friday, 17 March 2017

Godwits and Knots

17th March 2017

After trying for weeks to get to the estuary at a time when the tides were right, I wasn't working and the sun was shining, I finally got it right today. Sitting in my usual spot, hidden away in a dead tree, I waited as the tide pushed the birds up the beach towards me. I was particularly pleased as the bar-tailed godwits and lesser (red) knots are in spectacular breeding colours and will soon be leaving our shores for their breeding sites. 

It wasn't boring waiting either. I was more than content to sit in the autumn sun warming my toes and watch the wrybill squabbling not too far away from me. A familiar single note drew my attention and I found a young double banded dotterel running around in front of me, clearly curious about me. The dotterel are very reticent normally so it was a real treat to have this beautiful little bird come so close. He got bored of me first and rejoined his family and I continued to wait.

It was a bit tricky getting pictures of the godwits and knots as the godwits just wanted to roost with their bills tucked into their plumage and the knots rarely pulled their bills out of the sand as they fed. But I was in no hurry and just waited. I have been having trouble photographing these birds on the beach and I can't quite figure out why as conditions are usually pretty good when I go down to take photographs. Consequently my photos are not stand out but what a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

Banded Dotterel (Charadrius bicinctus)

Lesser Knot (Calidris canutus)

Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia)

Friday, 3 March 2017

Royal Spoonbill

There is a small resident population of royal spoonbill (Platalea regia) in Foxton Beach. They comb the shallow water, sifting to find anything from small crustaceans to larger fish. I often see them when I am walking my dog at dawn either around the lakes or feeding in the water next to the walkway. Despite always planning to take my camera or at least my binoculars, I always forget and have to settle for just marvelling at these elegant birds. 

Anyway, today there was a single bird on the beach and to my surprise it let me get reasonably near and even walked towards me at one point. I think it might have been a young bird as they are normally very wary of people and also this bird doesn't have any facial markings.