|Variegated (Pied) Oyster Catcher|
We camped at a place called Clark's Beach, about a forty minute drive from the international airport near Auckland. As we were driving in I saw a gathering of black and white birds on the beach. I did not know initially what they were, but suspected they were black backed gulls. After setting up I collected my camera and long lens and wandered off to get some shots.
I was very pleased to discover that the birds were in fact variegated oyster catchers, apparently also called pied oyster catchers due to their black and white nature. I used my stealthy approach technique involving moving slowly, stopping, feigning interest somewhere else, and repeating until I was reasonably close. Then I sat down low and began shooting.
Of the images I captures, I liked this one the most. I often see them individually or in pairs, but have never come across a group of them before. I spent some time enjoying my proximity to them then headed back to camp to take care of business.
After dinner I headed back to see if anything had changed and was pleased to see they were still there. There was a person wandering near them, but took no notice of him. As I was exploring other nooks of the environment I saw a host of black and white birds flying off towards another beach. I looked over and saw the same fellow wandering right through the middle of the pack. They scattered, of course, and never came back for the rest of the day or the next either.
My thought on this is to the man who disturbed this asset of nature - why would you take away this amazing spectacle from this place where they were resting? How did doing such a thing improve your life or make a positive contribution to the world around you? The short answer is that you did this out of ignorance and out of some base desire to disrupt the universe around you.
To the rest of you, consider your impact on the world around you. Your mere presence affects it and you should attempt to exist in harmony with it, showing appreciation and giving nature her due respect. Just show a little compassion for the life around you. It really isn't that hard.