Sunday, 27 January 2013

A couple of hot days in the Catlins

Well not just hot because of temperatures (would you believe it!) but also because of some pretty nice photo opportunities!  I never thought i would get sunburnt on the Catlins!

Yesterday dawned with clear skies and fresh temps, but as the sun got up it got warmer. We checked out a few spots in the MacKenzie Basin for some of the local birds, but nothing out of the ordinary, so we headed to the coast. By the time we got there it was a stunning day with quite high temperatures for this part of the World! We checked out a spot for yellow-eyed penguins, but nothing (it was the middle of the day), and so then headed down into the Catlins.

We ended up at a beach watching 11 yellow-eyed penguins come ashore. Superb views as they came in through the calm seas and then stood and preened on the beach before disappearing to their nests, presumably to feed large chicks. We spent several hours just doing this and enjoying it all. We then decided to head back to the town for dinner, but on the way the light was just too nice and with oystercatchers and gulls around it was almost too difficult to drag ourselves away to dinner! But we did…

This morning we woke to thick thick fog…but it started to clear as we hit the beach again in search of more oystercatcher madness, and we were not disappointed! We had stunning views and close up observations of them feeding and then feeding chicks. Superb!

Then it was time for breakfast and off down the coast to see a couple of Hooker's sealions, before a nice view of a little owl, managing to get some reasonable video of it. Next stop was another beach with yellow-eyed penguins, but a white-faced heron was set on being the star of the afternoon, parading about and feeding right in front of us. But we had some more great views of yellow-eyed penguins as they came ashore.

So it was with memory cards we headed in to Invercargill for dinner, then checked and cleaned all our gear before quarantine in the morning! We are lucky enough to be heading for Codfish Island…home of the Kakapo in the morning. It is now 11:30pm and I need to be up at 04:30am…so better get to bed! More to come...


Two yellow-eyed penguins preening on the beahc.

Juvenile variable oysetercatcher on the beach.

Taking some time out to sit down.

South Island oystercatcher looking alert. Despite the smudgy demarcation between the black and white on the breast of this bird, the overall size and also size of the bill make it a South Island oystercatcher.

Same bird side on.

A South Island oystercatcher looks out from behind a rock.

Kelp in the surf zone.

South Island oystercatcher standing on the beach.

Red billed gull standing on wet sand.

Vertical composition.

Red-billed gull looking grump y.

South Island oystercatcher walking across the beach.

South Island oystercatcher yawns as it crosses the beach.

South Island oystercatcher on the beach.

South Island oystercatcher walks across the sand.

Juvenile red-billed gull regurgitates some food.

Juvenile red-billed gull regurgitates some food.

Adult variable oystercatcher feeding a juvenile a small invertebrate.

Adult variable oystercatcher with two juveniles.

Adult variable oystercatcher feeding in the sand.

Adult variable oystercatcher swimming back to the beach with a small shellfish.

Adult variable oystercatcher walking back to the beach with a small shellfish.

Adult variable oystercatcher dipping for shellfish.

Adult variable oystercatcher wading back to the beach with a small shellfish.

Cracking it open on the beach.

Juvenile variable oystercatcher taking the flesh out of the shellfish after the adult has opened it.

Adult variable oystercatcher wading back to the beach with a small shellfish. back to the beach with a small shellfish.

Two Hooker's sealions spar on the beach.

White-faced heron wading in shallow water looking for food.

White-faced heron with reflection whilst feeding.

White-faced heron striking at prey with water splashing.

White-faced heron striking at prey with water splashing.

White-faced heron dancing around whilst feeding.

White-faced heron in the hunting pose.

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