North for Winter
So what have I been up to since my last blog post... Well last week I went up north to the Bay of Plenty to visit my Grandparents (both 90+ years old!!) and stay with my Dad on his Avocado orchard. It was supposed to be a family trip but of course I wanted to make the most of being in a different region and check out the local birdlife.
My dad conveniently lives only a few minutes drive from the Athenree wildlife Reserve - a lovely little wetlands home to some common bird species and also some uncommon ones. I had heard a month earlier that there was an unusual visitor to the reserve and crossed my fingers that it would still be there when I visited, and it was! The Black Fronted Dotterel - a bird I had never seen before. And it had a juvenile with it too. Equally as adorable.
These little guys are tiny, it actually took me a while to spot them. See size comparison with a Pied Stilt.
Waihi Beach is practically where I grew up. I spent most summers there as a kid, it's a stunning beach in summer and so peaceful in winter when there's no-one around.
Some Waihi Beach birds - Variable Oystercatchers…
And a pair of NZ Dotterel, a much loved bird amongst Kiwis.
On the way back to Dads place the Athenree inlet was full of Black Swans, I have never seen so many in one place!
The next day was forecast for Thunderstorms but I had persuaded Dad to drive me to Miranda, a coastline that serves as a temporary home to many resident and vagrant shorebirds.
I was blown away by how many birds I saw in the hour we stayed there. The main attraction were the Dotterel, there were around 2,600 birds at the time. There were also still Godwits and lots of Red Knots. At risk of making a ridiculously long blog post I'm going to share them all at once! I don't think they need much explanation. It was mind-blowing!
The rest of my trip was spend back at the Orchard watching the rain and Thunderstorms outside and stalking the local birds.