Tuesday 20 November 2018

Day two - ducks and saddleback

Up early with a forecast of showers for the morning, and unfortunately it was right. We headed out to an estuary to make the most of the morning light, and we had nice success with variable oystercatchers, black-winged stilts, and New Zealand dotterels.  But the showers came in and put a damper on things.  However, another long-distance view of fairy tern and our first wrybill which made a short guest appearance raised spirits.

We decided to call it and went back to the accommodation, packed up and headed for the hills.  Literally!  After a short drive we had a pair of Australasian little grebes and New Zealand dabchick right beside each other for close comparison and some nice images.  Also in nearby bushes were silvereyes, tui, and our first photo opportunities with New Zealand fantail.  The showers had ceased and the light was pretty nice for photography, so we stayed and made the most of it.
Heading off, we grabbed some lunch on the way, pies made more than a guest appearance, and after a few hours drive we were at a fantastic location for the afternoon. Paradise shelduck with ducklings started the afternoon, followed by brown teal, purple swamphen, and Eastern rosella – introduced but a pretty spectacular bird nonetheless.  We decided to go for a walk and in the end had beautiful light with more brown teal and some great forest birds, including bellbird and more tui, whitehead, fantail and then some showy saddleback.  They played hard to get to start with and then completely gave themselves up feeding in flax flowers in beautiful light.
All up a pretty nice day, with some stunning scenery and some great birds and photographic opportunities!  Dinner was excellent and a happy team!

Oystercatcher against the light with a worm

Nice backlight silhouette

Even the variable oystercatchers know where they should be

Fantail with a dragonfly in bill

Silvereye hanging out

Brown teal...can we trust them?

Red-billed gull having a wash

Female bellbird feeding on flax

Saddleback singing from a flax flower

Saddleback peering out

Brown teal cruising

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