When friends asked if I wanted to visit the animal sanctuary in Matakana (north of Auckland) I jumped at the chance. It was a nice surprise that not only do they provide refuge for rescued farm animals and battery hens, they also care for native birds. The Morepork, otherwise known as a Southern Boobook or Tasmainian spotted owl is New Zealand’s smallest owl. My photography of the birds and animals focused on their eyes. This owl was one of the most photogenic and patient of the birds. Letting me get reasonably close with my camera.
This friendly bird lives near the Pancake Rocks car park at Punakaiki on the west coast. Getting out of the car he walked right up to me looking for food. About the size of a chicken, the Weka or woodhen is a flightless bird unique to New Zealand. I spent less than 24 hours in the area but on the three separate occasions I parked here this bird was easily spotted strolling around. Here he was outside the cafe, walking along the road side.
Looking very menacing, his eyes seemed to follow me as I slowly walked past him. The rock he was stood on was very close to the path around the pond. It was almost as if he was saying, “this is my pond and these are my gold fish.” Thankful as I passed him and quickly snapped this photograph, he stayed perfectly still. The orange shapes in the pond behind him are the hundreds of gold fish that were living in the water. He obviously isn’t a hungry bird.
Before Christmas I travelled to Muriwai on the west coast, about an hours drive from Auckland. At one point on the coast there is a great view of the tiny Motutara Island. It is more of a large stack than an island. On this rock are hundreds of Gannet birds. Photographing birds on the rock was almost impossible as the lens on my camera doesn’t zoom that far. From the mainland they just looked like a carpet of indistinguishable birds on a rock. Capturing them in flight posed other challenges but in the end I came away with a couple. This one is probably my favourite.