Rare Bird Visit

1 August 2013

With a few more days up my sleeve before I have to be back at work (unlike poor Dave, who was back at work about 19 hours after we landed) I was out for a walk this morning — and noticed an unusual visitor. This kotuku, or white heron, was fishing in our local pond.

 

I’ve never seen one of these guys in the area before. They’re quite rare, and their one main breeding colony in New Zealand is in Okarito, in the South Island (or Te Wai Pounamu now) which, according to Google Maps, is a 1224 km drive away from here. As the heron flies it would be quite a bit shorter — but it’s not like it’s just round the corner!

This particular bird was very nervy, unlike the local waterfowl, who generally come towards you in the hope of being fed. I couldn’t get closer than about 40 m, but usually it stayed about 80 m away from me. (Camera Exif data can be useful.) Quite dreadful photos above, but just cool to see such a rare visitor.

Also sharing the pond (other than ducks) was this sweet wee fellow, whose official moniker is Hirundo neoxena.

He didn’t sit still on the batten for very long.

And it seems it’s cygnet time of the year again.

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