Readers’ wildlife photos

September 18, 2019 • 7:45 am

Reader Michael Hannah, a professor at the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences in Victoria University of Wellington, sent some nice photos of New Zealand birds (I’ve posted his wildlife photos once before).  His notes are indented.

Some images of New Zealand bids to help fill the tank! I’m lucky to live near an urban sanctuary near Wellington – Zealandia. The sanctuary has enriched the birdlife in all the surrounding suburbs well worth a visit. Tours at night are very popular as there is a flourishing population of Kiwi. And it’s only a few kilometres from the city centre and a few meters from busy suburbs. The pictures of the Tui, Hihi and Tieke were all taken in Zealandia:

Tui – Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae. I’ve been trying to get some decent pictures of these feisty birds for some time – these two, resplendent in their spring colours, obligingly posed for me. Tui are some of the more common birds in our garden.

[JAC: They’re also called “parson birds” because of their white feathered collar.]

HIhi (stitchbird) – Notiomystis cincta.  Reasonably common in the sanctuary – haven’t spotted one at home yet.

Tieke (saddleback) – Philesturnus carunulatus. A really lovely bird – you can see where the European name came from. I swear that they know when you are trying to photograph them. They wait till you have just about focused then leap to another branch and look back at you.

Otago Shag– Leucorarbo chalconotus These two images were taken at Sumpter wharf in Oamaru on the South Island. The Shags have taken it over as a nesting place and it’s covered in hundreds of birds. I think Sumpter Wharf is at least close-if not actually where the survivors of Captains Scott’s  1910 expedition first reached landfall carrying the news of Scott’s death.

Papango  (New Zealand Scaup)- Aythya novaeseelandiae. Not the greatest of photos – it was taken on a lake near Tekapo also on the South Island:

10 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

    1. I, too, especially like the Tieke. Also the metallic hues of the Tui but googling I find a range of colors. And the natural ‘feather boa’ around their necks is novel.

  1. Wonderful birds! I would love to see some of these guys. I just read several scientific papers about the Hihi for a paper I am writing on a North American songbird. Hihis are apparently the only bird that has face to face copulation. They have the normal style bird copulation too. One study found that face to face style copulations are more likely to occur when males are attempting forced copulations on females (not their mates but other females in the population)

  2. Lovely to see NZ natives! I love our native birds, so this is a real treat.

    I put out birdseed on my front lawn.I had a couple of Hihi this afternoon. It’s the first time I’ve seen them, though I don’t watch very often, so they could have been before. Sparrows are my most frequent visitors of course, along with other introduced species like blackbirds and thrush. But every now and then I get piwakawaka (fantails), robins, yellowhammers, and a few others.

    1. In our area many of the imported species like sparrows have been displaced by the birds coming out of Zealandia. Tui are very common, followed by Kaka and Kereru – it’s been an amazing change over the last few years

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