Two More Kotuku

31 October 2014

Just a couple more images from the Waitangiroto trip. On a bit of a black-and-white thing at the moment…

Welcome home ritual between nested pair.

Welcome home ritual between nested pair.

IMG_4379 bw2

Take-off and landing is precarious for large birds on spindly foliage.

Nature Photographer’s Paradise

27 October 2014

Last week’s journey led me to a very special part of New Zealand, the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve, to view its very special inhabitants.

The reserve lies on the Waitangitoana River 14 km north-west of Whataroa in South Westland, about a half-hour drive from Franz Josef. The coastal swampland remains covered in its original vegetation—a thick forest blanket of mature kahikatea. This pristine habitat houses New Zealand’s only kotuku (Egretta alba modesta) breeding site (discovered in 1865 by surveyor Gerhard Mueller), and one of only four known breeding sites for the royal spoonbill (Platalea regia). During the breeding season (September to February) around 40 pairs of kotuku and 16 pairs of spoonbill make camp, harmoniously side by side, within the reserve. The total New Zealand population of kotuku numbers fewer than 200; and royal spoonbills number around 130. The only way you can get to see these birds is to go with  White Heron Sanctuary Tours.

(Most of that paragraph is from an article I’m attempting to get published. A very long shot, so you’ll probably see the rest of it here in due course!)

And here’s some of what I saw!



Kotuku Sanctuary

25 October 2014

So I finally made it to the Kotuku breeding ground at the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve a couple of days ago. Outstanding. Took over 300 photos. Have only had a play with a few images so far, but this is my favourite. More (many more) later.

Two pairs of kotuku, and some chicks.

Two pairs of kotuku, and some chicks.

Adelaide Returns

29 September 2014

Had a shorter trip to Adelaide just over a week ago.  Got round to the images today.

Great entertainment watching the magpie dive-bomb the pelican. Poor pelican: the magpie was a real bully.

Another perfect-weather day. One of my new favourite places.

Rarotonga Ramble

27 September 2014

Flew back from my first trip to Rarotonga this morning. EARLY this morning. We left Raro at 0235 local time (1235 UTC), and arrived at 0500 local time here in NZ (1700 UTC). Have to say, travelling at those hours doesn’t strike me as entirely desirable — but we had a good load of passengers, so clearly the demand exists.

The weather in the tropics was kind (for the 34 hours we were there), although swimming wasn’t an option with the surf chopping up the water in the lagoon and creating something of a mini-rip on the steep-ish beach — making it impossible to avoid the coral. Ouch.

Some images…

Adelaide Panos

15 September 2014

And finally, just a couple of panoramas from Adelaide.

Graffiti on display under the motorway over- bridge.

Graffiti on display under the motorway over- bridge.

sheep shed

The sheep-judging shed at the Adelaide Show. And that’s not all of it!


More from Adelaide

15 September 2014

A few more images from Adelaide, and the Royal Adelaide Show.



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