White heron / kōtuku

Last week I joined a group of friends (also photographers), to visit the kōtuku nesting colony at Whataroa. The weather turned nasty almost as soon as we arrived in the South Island. We didn’t let it dampen our excitement as we continued our drive from Picton to Whataroa. After arriving during a thunder storm, we settled into our accommodation, determined to visit the herons the next morning, rain or shine. Thankfully it wasn’t raining the next morning and it also wasn’t shining brightly – all together perfect for what we wanted to achieve.

Greeting on return to the nest.

We went on the White Heron Tour with Dion as our guide. He had all the answers to our questions as we headed out to the colony. It was so much fun photographing the birds, that we went back twice more over the next couple of days, even in the rain. It is never easy to get the correct exposure on white subjects, so we experimented lots, and we were more than happy that the sun didn’t shine while we were there. Below is a selection of the images, I still have loads more to sort through.

These chicks were only a few days old.
The fanned out feathers are part of the adult breeding plumage.
Note the shag just behind this nest. There are shag nests scattered throughout the colony.
Older chicks.
Ready to head back out fishing.
Shaking off the rain.
To give you an idea of the weather 🙂

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