The first visit to spot the Pied Stilts at Pauatahanui Forest and Bird Reserve and their new chicks was reasonably successful. It was evening and there was some water in the pond near the hide.
Pied Stilt parents are not silly. They nest well away from the road, paths and the hide. They are fierce in protecting their young off-spring and I discovered they have some unique methods of sheltering them at times.
Not only do they nest in remote and secluded spots but they wade and feed as far from human contact as they can go. Certainly the parent and the chick in the photos below were out of range of the zoom on my camera.
So the photos are fuzzy but I hope you will get a sense of the fluffy, well camouflaged but long-legged chick and wonder at four legged bird photos!
Popping under Mum or Dad’s wing.
Back to exploring…
Seeking shelter again.
It pays to sit quietly in the hide and allow your eyes to scan around the area. After some time we noticed a slight movement on an island in the pond and it did eventually become apparent to us that another Pied Stilt was sitting on eggs there. It was only confirmed when the other parent came to take over incubation duties.
Adult Pied Stilt
I’ve been down to the Forest and Bird Reserve at Pauatahanui in the past couple of weeks in the hope of seeing and getting some photos of the Pied Stilt chicks.
My last trip was fruitless in terms of the Pied Stilts.
Adult Pied Stilt
The family was feeding in the water in a part of the pond that was inaccessible. It was only the swooping parent bird who was trying to drive us away that alerted us to their location.
We sat in the hide and patiently waited but the tidal flow was all wrong for any photos of the birds but I liked the colours that were showing in this salty water, marshy, tidal pond.
It is such a harsh looking environment but this reserve of extensive wetlands is critical to so much of our natural environment in New Zealand.
As I was returning home on Sunday this Royal Spoonbill glided down on to this tidal pond.
It “spooned” through the shallow water, sweeping with its bill left and right with some speed and skill and I watched a fish or two being caught and swallowed.
The bird was not happy with my presence once it heard my foot fall on the dry, crackly leaves and grass. Its flight away was magnificent to watch. Its broad white wings were strong and moved it through the air with apparent ease and grace, up and away to the greater safety of the Pauatahanui Inlet.