Zealandia in September

My membership had expired, so when it was suggested that we head to Zealandia this morning I figured it was a great opportunity to renew my membership. The benefits of being a member are awesome, I can go as often as I like and if I want to take anyone with me (who isn’t a member) they get in half price!  Zealandia is an awesome place to take friends and family who are visiting Wellington and I highly recommend paying for the yearly pass as a member.  So this morning I was expecting a bright sunny day like yesterday but no, we didn’t get that.  We got something much better!

It was overcast but bright with no wind at all.  Perfect conditions for taking photographs of birds!  The water on the lake was still, with the exception of the ripples the ducks made as they quietly moved about.  The reflections were stunning and I got totally caught up trying to get the best duck reflection I could while it was moving towards me. It would have been very easy to just stay there and play with the ducks, but there were others birds about.  The birdsong in the valley was loud and we wanted to find every bird we could!

Next up was the takahe.  I have no idea if this is Mr or Mrs, but it was very obliging when it came to having its photograph taken.  The perfect model – walking straight towards the camera, stopping every now and then to eat or preen.  Lots of action and behaviour shots. I love the way its clear sharp eyes are focused straight ahead giving a real connection with the camera. I am looking forward to hearing if the takahe are breeding again this year.  I kind of miss the little one since it left for the next part of its life journey.  After leaving the takahe to chase a fantail that managed to avoid getting photographed, we headed into the bush proper. It was a little dark, so not many clicks of the shutter happened there.

Back up on the main track at the first kaka feeder we came across Mr blackbird.  A friendly chap with a bit of a handicap. He has lost his tail feathers, and if you look closely you can see a couple of them there but the ends have been broken off.  He obviously got into some sort of trouble but managed to escape with only his tail feathers missing.  This didn’t stop him trying to chat up the females because he was right in there with the others vying for attention from the ladies.

We went for a walk round looking for riflemen but alas they are still hiding from us. I am still wanting to add them to my list of birds photographed but they are eluding me at present.  This kakariki however wanted to get up close and friendly.  So close in fact that my lens struggled to focus on it.  It would have been a nicer image if it had come out into the open without excess sticks over it but I am happy with the sharp clear eye and feather detail. Our next stop was to be the kaka feeder at the bottom of the top dam.  Not sure if the kaka got the memo because they were no where to be seen.

Instead of kaka at the feeders we were greeted by this handsome fella.  Mr tui was enjoying the sugar water and was more than happy to pose for the cameras. He was such a poser (in between big slurps of sugar water) that both my fellow photog and I had a lot of fun capturing his antics.  There were a lot of tuis about today, many of them with the blue from the tree fushia on their noses, others with the yellow from the kowhai flowers.  There certainly is no shortage of natural food for them in the valley at the moment, so no real need for Mr tui to be drinking from the bottle of sugar water.

Lastly we saw a lot of kereru flying about the sanctuary and it was a real treat to see one reasonably close and happy to be photographed.  So I will end this post with the mighty kereru feasting on fresh flowers and new shoots.  If you have never been and get the opportunity, I recommend a visit to Zealandia.  Every time there is something different to see and this time of year the weather is starting to make it a great place to be.

© Digitalpix Photography