August 2017 Monthly report.
Winter is now officially over and spring has sprung.
House keeping announcement.
First up is an apology from me , as it seems we had a bit of a hiccup with the blog, which resulted in 2 false post notifications being sent out to some peoples and the emails playing up.
The month of August
August was yet another busy month full of adventures for me .
We, Steve and I started the month over on the Kapiti coast enjoying a glorious early spring day chasing Grey Warbler’s ( riroriro).
Even with it being very early in the season , these birds are already in their full breeding colours and already building their nests because in late September early October the Shining Cuckoo will arrive in New Zealand.
Shining Cuckoos target the riroriro, laying their eggs in the riroriro nest, leaving them to be hatched and raised by the poor riroriro while the cuckoo summers over here without a care in the world.
However the clever little riroriro gets in at least one clutch and sometime 2 and raises their chicks before the bulk of the Shining Cuckoo arrive.
A riroriro with nesting material
The swamp where I love to shoot these birds is filled with raupō and at this time of the year a lot of last years growth is now dead and the stems and leaves turned light golden.
Shooting late afternoon means your going to get a beautiful golden background that really bring the colours of these birds to life.
After some great success and the sun sinking lower and lower in the sky we left the swamp behind, but on the way home we spied a Cock Pheasant silhouetted in the sunset so I just had to have a shot of it.
A beautiful silhouette of a Cock bird, even if I say so myself lol
Stagland’s Wildlife Park
The following week it was off to check on the action out at Staglands with Nomad Kath.
I had not taken much notice of the Turkeys down on the farm before, but today I was to learn just how awesome these birds really are as they come into their breeding season.
Being the person that I am, I have always talked to the animals, today would be no different and I could not giving the locals a gobble, gobble, gobble.
Most times in the past I have received a pretty quick response from the local Toms, but this time what I got, was not what I expected.
The colour on this birds face changed rather dramatically from this.
In a matter of seconds to this.
I was very intrigued, so more gobbles were needed which were enthusiastically responded to.
Next thing He posed and strutted around for me and for the first time I saw what a truly magnificent bird the Turkey was.
The turkey strut
A Ram looked on in mild amusement.
We left the strutting Tom to his girl friends and dropped in to see our old mate Rocky where I continued his training.
Tony the bird whisperer training an attentive Rocky .
Next up came the Peacocks.
Ive been taking photos of birds for years, but never much in the way of Peacocks and Peahens.
This summer the good Lord willing I’m going after them big time and I’ve been watching the tails grow on the males through out this winter.
Im still learning how to capture these birds in a way that gives them the credit due them.
The close up seems pretty peachy.
But full frame shows off the whole deal.
Or is the sweet spot somewhere in between ?
Maybe a real close up might make a good print on the wall.
Or even a closer one?
Every now and again in this game you get a shot that is one in a million I guess.
I was shooting a Peacock when a Peahen decided she was going to take the lime light , She waltzed in front of the Peacock and fanned her tail out perfectly in front of the posing Peacock resulting in truly a remarkable image.
I am looking forward the rest of spring and summer to work on Peacocks.
The Red Stint
Next on the agenda came about when word filtered down the pipeline that the Red Stint that visited us a few years ago as a juvenile was once again seen at the Manawatu Estuary and this time he was in his breeding colours.
Immediate invasion plans were formulated and executed promptly in case he decided to move on.
Nomad Kath did not have any images of Red Stints so we made it happen.
These birds are half the size of a house sparrow .
Mr Red Stint wearing his best outfit.
For a tiny bird He takes big steps
Red Stints love to hang out with Wrybills and this bird was no different.
The classic close up portrait shot has its place, but also keeping back a bit and taking in the birds surroundings and placement in its environment adds yet another dimension.
The front bird is placed in the centre, right in front of the bunch, giving symmetry.
Now for the close up.
Mr Wrybill, l trying to get this sand out of his ear lol
Mr Shoveler Duck was also out showing off his new attire for the year
Once we had the Red Stint in the bag we were off home .
We had a trip back to Staglands planned in the next few days and so it was to be.
The rise of the Turkey Terminator.
I had noticed there was 2 big male Toms at Staglands , each commanding a area of their own , The top bird up on the hill was pretty harmless and busied him self with showing off to his girlfriends, the other on the low lands was a different creature all together.
I had had a bit of a run in with him but he had kept his distance the first time we met although he seemed keen to get to know me on closer terms after I had talked to him a little bit, I was trying to get his face to change colour like his mate up on the hill.
When we met next time how ever he seemed to recognise me immediately and launched an immediate full on assault from 20 meters out.
Introducing the Turkey Terminator.
I was fine if I met him being head on but as soon as I tired to get away and turn my back I was set upon lol.
Terminator attack courtesy of a laughing out loud Kath making suggestions from a safe distance as I battled for my life .
Photo By Barbara Kaths sister
Locked in Mortal combat,the bird was relentless .
Birds are not the only thing on offer for the Photographer as Staglands Wildlife Park.
There is always something to catch your eye if you look.
Retiring for lunch we set up next to a tree where we knew there would be something to watch while eating .
A tui dropped in to say hi.
Followed by Mr or Mrs White Eye, I don’t know the difference.
I could fill this post with hundreds of images but we must move on.
Kath is a Falcon lover, she sponsors 2 native falcons at Wingspan, a place where falcons are cared for when injured and where the public can have close encounters with trained birds .
As sometime happens the incredible occurs.
One day in the middle of suburbia Kath looks out her window and there perched in her kohwai tree four meters away sits a male falcon.
I was invited to come up and photograph this bird as it had made Kath’s place part of its daily food collection route, preying on the small birds that feed on Kath’s lawn and in her hedge.
These chances just don’t turn up all that often, we are truly blessed.
So here he is in all his glory , a truly magnificent wild creature, totally unafraid of humans.
It’s such a blessing to encounter these birds .
these falcon are making an impressive come back due to heavy pest control in our valley, may they increase to bless us all.
I think this is about enough for this post.
August was full on, so I will leave you with my favourite shot of the month a riroriro and one that is destined for my wall.
This print will be available for sale later in September.
The golden background and soft light really complements the bird.
riroriro the Grey Warbler.
Bless ya all heaps peoples.