The tuatara, the saddleback, the robin and more.

Tuatara sunning itself.

It is hard to walk around the Zealandia Ecosanctuary and not take a photo. It is not always the birds that grab my attention either, the tuatara like to come out when the sun is shining to soak up the warmth. This tuatara was sitting at the entrance to its underground home and was far enough up the bank that I was able to photograph it at eye level. I especially love the eyes with their beautiful bronze colour. It felt like it was looking directly at me through the lens of the camera.

Saddleback / tieke

Tieke are notoriously hard to photograph as they flit about the trees and the undergrowth very quickly seeking out tasty bugs to eat. The one above was playing peek a boo with the camera not letting me get a clear shot. Then a little fantail/piwakawaka flitted about and it led me straight to another tieke that was almost posing for me. I am not about to miss such an opportunity when it is presented to me so I didn’t photograph the piwakawaka at all. I focused entirely on the tieke. See below.

Tieke with a bug in its beak.
Tieke looking for bugs.

The next bird on my list is the North Island robin or toutouwai, one of the forest’s most friendly little birds. The are known for getting very close and love to look for the bugs that you might disturb by walking by. Every visit to Zealandia I will see or photograph one of these friendly little birds.

North Island Robin

My plan was to walk to the Discovery Area to photograph the hihi or stitchbirds, however the plan had a flaw in it. When I arrived at the feeder I noticed a distinct lack of hihi. Instead there was one loan korimako / bellbird who was standing guard over the feeders and chasing any other bird away. So I photographed the korimako instead. On the way back to car I passed by the takahe who thought it would be nice to come for a walk with me. The followed me down the path stopping only when I did. All in all, it was a very productive day for me.

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