On the Gippsland Lakes late in February, heading south in the channel between Fraser and Rigby Islands, we noticed a lone very young shorebird (wader) chick on the shoreline of Fraser Island. We did not have to ponder which species it was for long, a female Red-capped Plover soon joined the young bird.
|Red-capped Plover, mother and chick, Fraser Island, Gippsland Lakes.|
Male Red-capped Plover, not the chick's parent, photo taken elsewhere on a clear blue sky day, included to show a male which has a red head or cap.
The presence of our boat just off shore aroused the protective instinct in the mother bird; she followed the chick closely, and it seemed to be oblivious to us, as it darted here and there along the shore looking for food. I think the chicks find their own food, they are not fed by the parents (?).
Capturing images of the small stop/start bird was tricky in the overcast conditions with dull and flat light, an extreme test for the auto-focus system.
|The start of a tiny wing is just visible.|
|The chick has found a small food item by the water's edge.|
|Mother continues to keep a close eye on the chick and us. The chick continues to forage, it has to grow up fast.|
The young bird was very cute and very vulnerable. With no wings or feathers developed yet to fly, the young bird must rely on its long legs, camouflage and its mother for protection from predators.