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The Life in an Estuary

We started our summer holiday this year perfectly – just a stone’s throw from Whangarei on the Tutukaka peninsula at Pataua North.

An early flowering of Pohutakawa meant that the coast was vibrant with colour and practically humming with bees. It felt good to be out of town for a while and as I relaxed on the sand listening to the music the bees made, I started to think….

The holidays are a time to relax, rejuvenate and ready ourselves for the following year. It’s easy to spend your leisure time playing ball, jumping over the waves, building castles or digging holes in the sand. You don’t realize the incredible life that is happening all around you! It’s just a matter of taking the time to really see. For me, Pataua beach was the perfect place to start!

Above you in the explosion of red, thousands of bees’ hum. They are never on holiday! Birdlife is abundant. Seagulls, Shag and Oyster Catchers patrol the estuary eager for any morsels they can find. Protected by the tidal waters of the estuary, several seagulls had taken over a rocky perch and built ‘barely there’ nests in the crevices. Fluffy miniatures ruffle their feathers and adults take to the air, swooping and squawking when they think you have gotten too close.

The salty waters are just as jam-packed full of life as the shore. Sting rays zip past in the shallow waters where little crabs feast. The seaweed sways with the current as speedy piper dodge fishing hooks…. but not all of them!! (yum!)

When you swim in the estuary and look down to the sandy bottom you can see a living version of the stars far above. Dozens of starfish of all sizes are revealed, their tentacles searching desperately for left overs from the day before. It’s quite magical.

Don’t miss your opportunity to take notice of the natural world living all around you.

Will – you – look?

Emily Raukura