Darling dotterels

I don’t think the local birds had ever seen anyone sitting on the muddy banks of their tiny ephemeral lake; they carried on with their daily business as though I wasn’t there.


Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus)
1/2000, f/7.1, ISO 800


Red-kneed Dotterels are totally adorable little waders with, you guessed it, red knees. They were racing back and forth along the shoreline, dipping their bills into the mud and collecting all kinds of tiny critters.

I needed high shutter speeds, these images were taken at 1/2000th and 1/2500th of a second and still there is a little movement blur in image above.

These dotterels are beautiful. The bird above is an adult with its black cap and breast band standing out against its white underparts, chin and throat. I like the way the breast band tails off into a dash of chestnut on the flanks and is set off by the bronze-brown upperparts.


Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus)
1/2500, f/8, ISO 800


Young Red-kneed Dotterels are stunning. They’re a mottled, browner version of the adult bird with the same dark eye, sharply defined cap, red bill with its dark tip and the same knobbly red knees. A hint of chestnut on the flanks is already emerging.

Red-kneed Dotterels are scattered across mainland Australia and although they are generally stay in their own areas they are believed to travel long distances when necessary to find suitable wetlands. I travelled long distances to find these birds and it was worth every kilometre.

Happy birding



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