Tui feeding in kowhai tree. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Maybe I’m stretching the definition of elusive a bit here. Tui are abundant in our garden at the moment, with record numbers feeding on the kowhai, flax and fuchsia in the neighbourhood.

Photographing them is a different matter. Today is the first time I’ve managed to get close enough to focus my lens on the birds and not just the foliage.

Images: Su Leslie 2019

Ragtag Daily Prompt | elusive




Hisan, an adolescent karearea or native falcon, seen at Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust, Rotorua, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2017


Hisan, adolescent karearea, or NZ native falcon. Image: Su Leslie 2017

Karearea, like most native birds in Aotearoa New Zealand, evolved in the absence of humans and other mammal predators. These days, their survival is threatened by widespread habitat loss and degradation, cats, stoats and possums which eat their eggs, deliberate killings by humans, and electrocution, which happens when they land on un-insulated power lines.

Like so many species, the very survival of these beautiful, distinguished-looking birds is threatened, despite the work of several organisations dedicated to birds of prey preservation.

Posted to the Ragtag Daily Prompt | distinguished


Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust

Department of Conservation: NZ Falcon/Karearea

Regular Random: five minutes with some sparrows

Photo 18-04-19, 12 15 02 PM

I’m not a huge fan of sparrows, but it was quite entertaining watching a little posse of them brazenly trying to share my lunch recently.

Regular Random is a photo challenge hosted by Desley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist. Please pop over and take a look;  and if you’d like to join in:

  • choose a subject or a scene
  • spend five minutes photographing it – no more!
  • try to not interfere with the subject, instead see it from many angles, look through something at it, change the light that’s hitting it
  • have fun!
  • tag your post #regularrandom and ping back to Desley’s post.


Leisurely breakfast


Kereru (wood pigeon) in ti kouka (cabbage tree). Image: Su Leslie 2019

I almost didn’t reach for my camera when a kereru swooped down on our cabbage tree this morning.

Normally by the time I’ve got the lens cap off and focused the camera, the bird has flown.

But not today.

The fruit must have been very appetizing because I actually had time to swap lenses and capture a bunch of shots before I had to dash off to an appointment.




Gannets, Muriwai Gannet Colony, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Despite an abundance of native birds (mainly tui, kereru and fantails) nesting around my neighbourhood, I’m generally not great at capturing photos of them.

The gannet colony at Muriwai is another story though. With many thousands of birds nesting on the cliffs, it’s inevitable that some will build their nests close to the walkway. They seem very relaxed about the hordes of humans who come to gawk at them, though I suspect that’s mainly because we flightless ones seem reasonably capable of staying behind the fence.

Breeding season has begun again for the gannets, and I will undoubtedly spend some early mornings clutching my camera and enjoying the sight of these majestic birds.

And I’m overdue for another visit to the wonderful Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust, which does such great work helping to ensure the survival of New Zealand’s native birds of prey. Hisan, the juvenile karearea, or falcon, shown above was photographed almost two years ago and will have flown off from his perch one day and not returned. Hopefully to make a home, and breed, somewhere in the forests nearby.

Posted to the Ragtag Daily Promt | bird