Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Drive to Picton

It was time to leave beautiful Kaikoura and continue north to Picton. It had been suggested, by several fellow travellers we'd met in Kaikoura, that we check out the Ohau Point Seal Colony about 20 minutes drive from Kaikoura and, for once, the advice that 'you can't miss it' was accurate.

New Zealand Fur Seal, Ohau Point, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 100mm, ISO 400 f/5.6 1/2000

A few hundred metres further on, there's a short walk to Ohau Falls where, in winter and spring, the fur seals pups come to 'hang out at the pool'. It was too late in the year for any to be there but waterfalls are always worth a look.

Ohau Falls, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 35mm
ISO 400, f/11 1/8
Ohau Falls, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 35mm
ISO 400, f/11 1/6

A brief pit stop at Kekerengu turned into a longer stay when, on what was intended to be a short walk on the beach, Jo spotted a Double-banded Plover (in NZ they call them Banded Dotterels) among the stones and driftwood. By the time I had retrieved the tripod and longer lens from the car, the bird had returned to its nest. With the 2x extender on the lens, we could take a few shots while keeping a fair distance from the bird.

Double-banded Plover, Kekerengu, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11 1/250
Double-banded Plover, Kekerengu, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11 1/250

The bird's mate arrived back at the beach, landing about 30 metres away from the nest. The nesting bird walked off to meet it.

Double-banded Plover, Kekerengu, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11 1/200

We expected them to swap over nest-minding duty but after a few minutes'  'discussion' (they actually were chattering to each other) the original bird walked back, straight past us

Double-banded Plover, Kekerengu, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor)
ISO 400, f/11 1/160

and returned to its vigil on the nest.

Double-banded Plover, Kekerengu, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11 1/200

Having spent longer than expected here, we decided to take an early lunch (it was approaching midday) at the cafe overlooking the beach but the 'brunch served to 1:00 PM' was inexplicably no longer available so we opted to get back on the road.

Following a late brunch (when we arrived in Picton) we went for a walk at Karaka Point where we managed to find a Grey Warbler singing in the low branches of the trackside vegetation (so close it was difficult to photograph).

Grey Warbler, Karaka Point, Marlborough NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8
ISO 400, f/5.6 1/100

We heard a Chaffinch calling nearby and it took several minutes to locate it in the thick vegetation, eventually finding a 'window' among the leaves and branches to see the bird.

Chaffinch (male), Karaka Point, Marlborough NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8
ISO 400, f/2.8 1/400

Just before we got back to the car park, Jo spotted a male California Quail sunning itself beside the track. Although this bird is introduced to New Zealand, so the locals scoff at them, it was the first time we had seen one so we were quite excited to get such a close look and photograph it...of course we were to see hundreds more in the next few days...

California Quail (male), Karaka Point, Marlborough NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/2.8 1/400

No comments:

Post a Comment

Apologies for the inconvenience but I have had to turn on word verification to avoid spam (I was getting 10-20 a week)

Birding and Natural History Blogs - Australia

Birding Blogs - Worldwide