Readers’ wildlife video and photos

February 23, 2017 • 7:30 am

Tara Tanaka (Vimeo site here, Flickr site here), has sent us yet another lovely 2 ½-minute  video, this time of a Great Egret (Aredea alba) displaying.  Be sure to watch it on the Vimeo site, enlarged and in high definition. Her notes:

For the first time I’ve tried shooting photos from our Gheenoe [a boat], and as long as the wind isn’t blowing too hard it works well. I really didn’t think it would be steady enough, but I found that if I hold my breath I can even shoot video from it! I paddled our Gheenoe out into the swamp before sunrise on Monday and videoed this gorgeous male Great Egret displaying in perfect morning light. It looked like he would have really nice backlighting in that spot just before sunset, IF he hadn’t attracted a mate by then. I paddled back out with my digiscoping gear for even more reach later in the afternoon and shot the very last clip. I slowed this down to half of original speed, but used the audio at normal speed. You can hear the loud “wichity-wichity” of a Common Yellowthroat, and if you turn the sound up you can hear many Red-winged Blackbirds and the “rusty gate” sound of Rusty Blackbirds, a species in serious decline.

And we have two photos from Stephen Barnard, who’s still fishing and traveling in New Zealand:

Black swan (Cygnus atratus). Not all swans are white, which came as a surprise to Europeans, who had assumed otherwise, when they were found in Australia. It illustrates the philosophical problem of induction, the “long tails” of probability distributions, and the underestimation of rare but potentially disastrous events, such as the economic crisis of 2008. (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Nassim Nicholas Taleb)


And Stephen caught a fish (and sent travel notes, for  I asked him where to visit after I arrive in mid-March):

The fishing has been tough  due to weather and stream conditions, but I caught this nice brown trout (Salmo trutta) yesterday.

I’ve been all over South Island, but avoiding cities. The variety is extraordinary for such a small place. The scenery around Wanaka is the best, in my opinion, but there aren’t any really bad places that I’ve seen. The Fjordlands are spectacular if you can tolerate the usually rainy weather.


25 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife video and photos

  1. The Egret’s graceful movements are surely going to attract a mate, but just to be sure, he ends each riff by nipping a stick in the nest, as if to say, “Not only am I this good looking, I can also do nesting chores.” In the human species this would be like on a date, picking up a gum wrapper and dropping it in the trash bin. “See, not only am I this handsome, I can also handle taking out the garbage.”

  2. That’s how we fisherman get our reputation for telling “fish tales,” recycling a photo from a couple weeks ago like that.

    Fish probably grew a couple inches between postings, too, didn’t it? 🙂

  3. Beautiful stuff. I really got absorbed into listening to the various bird calls.

    Tara, in a photography forum I recently came across a posting that linked to this video of yours which is a time lapse of a Pileated woodpecker excavating a tree hole:

    The commenters there were very impressed by it, certainly. I remember that in Jerry’s book WEIT he writes about the numerous adaptations that woodpeckers have, and in this video one can really see it. Wow, they bang their head hard!

    1. Thanks Mark! Yes, everyone is singing right now :-).

      That same Pileated is working on a pine snag in the side yard as I write this. He never used that cavity he made in the video, but a family of baby squirrels grew up in it followed by a nest of Wood Ducks. Days after the WDs hatched and jumped the snag broke off, unfortunately taking with it the new cavity he and his mate had created about 20′ up from the original one. It was either just before or just after their eggs hatched — I’d watched them incubating. We were out of town and came home to find half the tree on the ground with the parents searching frantically on what remained for their eggs or nestlings. I think they successfully renested elsewhere last year, but am glad they have again chosen our yard for this year’s nest. I just hope their chosen dead pine stands a lot longer than the water oak.

  4. Beautiful swan! We saw a juvenile black swan swimming with its white mother a couple of years ago north of Toronto.

      1. Yeah, seven rocks…kind of breaks the trend. Still, Pluto is a dwarf and if Pluto is unhappy it’s obviously bigoted against small stalky people.

  5. Black swans are beautiful…and Talib’s book is worth the read. 9/11 is another “black swan”.

    That’s a really nice Brownie Stephen. Are trout indigenous to Australia or were they introduced?

    Great Egret = Awesome!

    1. Brown trout (and all other salmonids) are introduced species in New Zealand. A peculiar thing is that the trout, and the trout fishing, in New Zealand is very different from in the US and Europe. The fish are relatively few in number, but average much larger. It requires a lot of strenuous hiking to find the fish, but when you find them it’s worth it.

  6. Gorgeous and completely absorbing video, Tara! The slo-mo with the natural-speed sound track is most effective. The whole really draws one into another world entirely…*

    Nice swan, great catch, Stephen! Have to reset my whole conception of “trout” after seeing that… 😀

    *(A far cry from this just slightly dorkier Great Egret pic I posted in a forum’s humor thread: )

    1. Thank you Diane for your meaningful comment. I’ve had other comments on this video that viewers are “transported,” and that is exactly what I am trying to accomplish – taking the viewer there as if he/she is right there with the bird.

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