Just outside Pohangina Village yesterday, we saw a pheasant rooster strolling along the road. We followed him and I managed a series of photographs, most of which failed. Luck was with me for this one, though. [1/640 sec at f4.5, ISO 200]
At the Plimmerton end of Pauatahanui Inlet we stopped briefly but walkers with babies in pushchairs and dogs meant birds were scarce. I did photograph this tui but held out little hope the result would be OK because the bird refused to come low enough so I could avoid the bright grey sky as a background. However, some judicious processing helped by a relatively low ISO meant I was able to salvage this photograph.
The yellow around the base of the upper bill is pollen from the kowhai flowers from which the tui had been sipping nectar.
Voting in the local government elections finished at midday on Saturday, and I can't say I'm unhappy it's over. If this guy had been standing in my electorate instead of in Paekakariki, I'd have been tempted to vote for him.
At Pauatahanui Inlet we stopped to investigate the bird hide. I'd driven past many times and had often thought about stopping, but something always seemed more urgent. This time, with no hurry to get back to the valley, the temptation was too much. It proved worthwhile, with good views of pied stilts, grey teal, and several other kinds of waterbirds.
The introduced finches, like this male yellowhammer, are larger than Aotearoa's tiniest birds like the riroriro (grey warbler), but I find them at least as difficult to photograph. Riroriro seldom pause and usually flit about among a tangle of fine branches that makes focusing a nightmare, but at least it's often possible to get close to them while they forage. Getting close to a yellowhammer, on the other hand is inordinately difficult, so I usually need to crop the photograph heavily, as I did with this one.