Saturday, 29 May 2010

Matata & Thornton Beach

After days of rain I was relieved to wake to a sunny morning. Determined to make the most of it I dragged Troy away from his computer and we went for a drive to Matata. The wetland restoration project is progressing well and there was a group of Canada Geese trying out the new section of lake. No doubt taking refuge from hunters.
Amongst them was this pair of Paradise Shelducks. The female has the white head.
It was a short drive to the Tarawera Rivermouth where I spotted a pair of NZ Dotterels on the beach. They were beginning to colour up as their winter plumage comes in - a lovely rusty orange coloured chest.

Unfortunately these birds are a threatened species which is due in no small part to the fact that they lay their eggs in shallow scrapes on sandy beaches. The eggs and chicks are easy pickings for predators or are lost during storms. Many nests are destroyed inadvertantly by people taking vehicles on the beach which makes this next photo all the more relevant.

After photographing Tuturiwhatu (dotterel) I talked Troy into taking me to a nearby conservation area called Awaiti wetland. It took some begging and bribery to persuade him but he folded when I promised not to hassle him for the rest of the weekend. We drove in along a muddy wet track...we have a 4 wheel drive vehicle so no problem A? Errrr not necessarily. In a particularly wet spot the back end of the stationwagon slewed off the track and into the swamp. BUGGER! I got out to push and the water came halfway up my shins. Again BUGGER! It didn't take long to work out we weren't going to drive out unaided. Troy set off to find a farmer with a tractor while I stood on the track and decided it would be prudent to leave my camera in the car for once! Guess who spent the afternoon washing the car?!!!

No comments: