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Birds At Lake Rotokare

Birds At Lake Rotokare

I haven't been able to get out and do much photography lately but with work easing off a bit I managed to take Friday off and decided to head to Lake Rotokare.  Lake Rotokare is a pest free sanctuary near Eltham in South Taranaki. Rotokare was a community led project and after much hard work by volunteers and the construction of a pest proof fence, it is now a thriving natural forest full of native birds that have otherwise vanished from Taranaki.

A few years ago saddleback (tieke), stitchbird (hihi) and whitehead (popokotea) were introduced.  The saddleback now seem to be thriving and on my walk on Friday I saw dozens of them along the track and the forest seemed to be full of their song. Several times I cam across family groups of 3 or 4 birds together.

I was also extremely lucky on this visit to get some good sightings of the elusive fernbird.

I set off early wanting to get to Rotokare at dawn and got some wonderful shots of the mountain just after sunrise before I got to Rotokare.

Taranaki at dawn from just outside Eltham

Some dramatic morning cloud framing the mountain. Taken from the road to Rotokare.

I got lots of close up shots of saddleback (tieke).  The light was very poor within the forest. I had to use an iso setting of 10000 and then was still often working with a shutterspeed of < 1/100.  A bit marginal for bird photography.

Grubs up !

I also saw lots of North Island robin. Always very friendly little birds.

A male hihi - there was a pair but the female was too quick and flitted away before I could get her in focus.

Playing hide and seek with the ferndird (matata).  Fernbird are elusive and difficult to photograph. I heard this one call and just sat and waited then suddenly it appeared amongst the bull rushes.

This one seemed to be displaying to a female. After sitting and flapping its wings while calling loudly they both disapeared back into the fern with much calling and I didn't see them again.

4th Oct 2020 Alec Messenger

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