December is always my busiest month of the year birding wise with it ending with our epic annual Christmas sojourn.
So much has happened this year that I have decided to write a separate article later covering this Christmas away.
December started in much the same way it always does each year …..namely on the 1st day of December, same as last year.
All was relatively quiet with Steve and I concentrating on our Spotless Crake hunting abilities, until the word came in that there was a ruru, or Morepork family living in a patch of bush an hour’s drive away.
This caused no small amount of excitement for the local birding enthusiasts, myself included, so it was no surprise I found myself with a mate Chris Helliwell, stalking through the bush looking for these ruru or New Zealand Night Owl.
By the way just out of interest, in case you have noticed when I use maori names I don’t use capitals as the maori language does not use CAPITAL letters.
Anyway back to the rurus, after some effort we were deep in the jungle, Chris and I were ruru-less and I was starting to think we would not meet up with the birds, when I spied a fantail nest ahead of me.
In my haste to investigate the nest, I failed to notice a young ruru perched in the tree right next door to the nest and it flew feet from me only to land in the perfect spot to be photographed.
The focus was now firmly transferred from Fantails to ruru and the session commenced with the sound of shutters clicking , trees were being used as makeshift tripods because the light although good for in the woods, it was quite slow even for ISO 1600 on the 1DX.
For a bigger image just click on the image
The rather bemused young ruru
First in the viewfinder was a pair of pango pango or scaup resting on a low flax stalk just high enough to be out of the water.
A pair of pango pango resting on a flax stalk.
Next up was a close up of a friendly little shag.
Up the Kapiti coast we went where we found a mother pied shag feeding her ravenous youngster on the water.
As you can see the young shag is a real mouthful for the poor mumma.
Next up a Black Fronted Dotterel and the day was looking like a ripper.
A proud father to be.
Yummy worms lol
Are those really my feet ?
Next up was another crack at the ruru as we knew there was adult birds we had not seen yet, so the hunt was on, this time I was with Steve and we met up with Louise a member of my Facebook group and we enjoyed the ruru , this time we saw the parents as well.
I had to climb a tree to get this shot much to the amusement of the ever funny Louise.
Many helpful hints on how to climb through the thick branches were dished out and I became known as the tree sloth lol
The Bigger female ruru
The growing youngster
We also managed to catch a Shining Cuckoo out in the open .
This image is a prime example of colour and how the lack of, can steal the bird of some of its brilliance.
I will do a short article later this year on complimentary colour and how it enhances an image.
The lack of colour from the background kind of steals the birds colour.
Mr kahu or Hawk was my next subject a week or so later.
kahu get whiter with age so this one is getting on.
Im very pleased with this image.
Mr kahu doing the famous FLAIR that hawks, Eagles and Falcons do when they first spot you beneath them.
riroriro or Grey Warbler were up next.
These critters are hard to nail, they never sit still and you need a very fast shutter speed and good light to get a sharp image.
Yellow Hammers are gorgeous in good light and this one was no exception.
This action kept us busy until it was time to go up north to really get serious about getting some birds we had been targeting lately and were on the top of our wanted list.
More on that later.
Hope you enjoy the images.
I also hope everyone had a great and safe Christmas break.
All ready this year is looking very exciting .
Ya just dont know whats round the next corner or tree lol