Down close to the river, if you look really carefully, you might see the tiny Dotterels dashing around. I think they’re quite hilarious, the way they dash from one spot to another.
It was only on examining my photos closely that I discovered we have two kinds of dotterels at Waikawa Beach: the Banded Dotterel and the New Zealand Dotterel.
The Tuturiwhatu, Banded dotterel above is slightly smaller and much lighter.
Length: 20 cm; Weight: 60 g
Similar species: Lesser sand plover, New Zealand dotterel
A small compact brown and white plover with a short black bill, relatively long dark legs and large round dark eyes. Breeding males have a broad chestnut breast band with a narrow black neck band above it; females have both bands but they are duller.
The New Zealand dotterel above is a little heavier:
Length: 25 cm; Weight: 146 g (northern), 160 g (southern)
Similar species: Banded dotterel, Greater sand plover
A bulky plover with a heavy black bill, relatively long grey legs and large round dark eyes. The upperparts are brown and the underparts off-white, becoming orange-red from May, with the depth and extent of red varying individually and seasonally, and males generally being darker than females.
Keep a look out for them — they can be hard to spot.
Caveat: I’ve done my best to identify these birds but if you’re an expert and know better then please set me right.