A walk along a coastal path at this time of the year can be unexpectedly startling. Some birds can be downright sneaky, feigning tricks to lure would-be predators or trespassers away from their territory if there are vulnerable chicks to protect. The plovers and waders tend to use diversionary tactics, the “broken-wing” act or the “rodent run” pretending to run off after some imaginary prey. The seagulls can get testy too, strafing unsuspecting hikers with dive-bomb manuevres; and the ostriches need to be given a wide berth as you just don’t mess with either ma or pa as they are capable of inflicting lethal damage.
A Kittlitz’s plover and it’s chick are well camouflaged between the rocks and kelp.The parent bird moves away and feigns an act to attract attention away from the chick.The chick stands dead still and is hard to spot amongst the beach flotsam.
While further along the beach a group of beachgoers sets up a picnic spot.The perfect beach spot right? Except for the pair of little white-fronted plovers now having to protect the location of their chick.
It is a little too close for comfort for the agitated parent birds, while the beachgoers are blithely unaware of the stress they are causing. The birds try a number of diversionary tactics, different flight patterns, the ‘broken-wing’ act and directional charging; yet there the umbrella and people remain for the day!