14 September 2013

Karearea (NZ falcon) on the No. 1 Line track

The demands of work and the wild spring weather meant I hadn't been for a walk up No. 1 Line for almost a month. It felt like an age and probably was.

Today I finally made it up there. I sat at the top in the blustery wind, writing a little while the water heated, then sipping Lapsang Souchong. I watched patches of sunlight drift across the far mountainside and listened to the wind and a little riroriro somewhere a long way off, and I remembered the pipiwharauroa I'd heard yesterday — the first this spring — and wondered how many riroriro would end up raising pipiwharauroa chicks instead of their own this summer. 

A little light hail tapped at the hood of my parka on the way down, but it amounted to nothing. Near the bottom of the track I heard a bird call — a tui, I thought. But it didn't sound quite right, even allowing for the huge range of calls tui can make. I heard it again and became even more convinced it wasn't a tui. I thought I knew what it might be, so I retrieved the camera and headed off the track. 

I was right. This was one of two karearea — New Zealand falcons — sitting high in a massive dead tree. The whole time I photographed them and watched them through the binoculars, they said nothing. Just those two calls as I came down the track, as if they were calling out to me rather than at me. 

I'd like to believe they were saying, 'Welcome home, Pete'.

[14 September 2013, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 100–300 mm at 300 mm, ISO 200, 1/320 at f5.6]

All content © 2013 Pete McGregor


Elephant's Child said...

And what a welcome.

Relatively Retiring said...

Such a beautiful portrait (again).
There is something Japanese about the deceptive simplicity of this.

pohanginapete said...

EC, I couldn't have imagined a better welcome back to No. 1 Line :^)

RR, thank you. Initially I thought the overcast sky might make photographing difficult, but it worked to my advantage. A clear blue sky would have been almost impossible.

Zhoen said...

I keep coming back to gaze at this one. The rough bark, soft moss, that bird with such an intense, but not unfriendly look.

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, they certainly seemed unperturbed by me. Perhaps I was beneath them in more than just the literal sense ;^)

butuki said...

Good to see you posting again, Pete. I was beginning to get worried that you haven't been around.

When I first saw the thumbnail of the image I thought the knot in the branch was an owl, or perhaps even a goatsucker.

I think the falcon is even looking at his mate, pointing at you, and saying, "It's him." ;-)

pohanginapete said...

Miguel — nice! :^)

Posting has been sporadic because the last month or so has been madness. I have a few weeks of relatively normal life, then the pace starts picking up again as the end of the semester approaches.

There was blood on that set of talons. I could see it clearly through the binoculars, and I watched as this bird cleaned a loose feather from between the talons.

Jono said...

Lovely shot. It is great when you can get close to these fellas.

Anne-Marie said...

Beautiful photo, Pete, and I'm glad you had this experience.

pohanginapete said...

Jono, I think this is the closest I've come to them in the wild without being attacked!

Anne-Marie, thank you. It was a real privilege.

AJB said...

Looks like you even got a bit of Earina in the shot. :) I've never got close to a falcon, the best was seeing a pair circle overhead once.

pohanginapete said...

Andrew, it's not hard to get Earina in a photograph up there!