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Back yard birding thread... (Corona virus restrictions)

Game Warden

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Jip, beautiful.

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Took a jaunt to a local park north of NYC (well, about an hour's drive...these days that's still local!) Its actually a former landfill, known in winter for its Bald Eagle population. Oddly we'd never been there before. Anyway, this year folks have been leaving seed for a mixed flock of Snow Buntings, Horned Larks, Common Redpolls, assorted sparrows, and an errant Eastern Meadowlark.  A photographer's dream, I took over 700 photos (now weeded down to about 150.)


Here's a taste.


By the way, all were taken with the mirrorless Nikon Z7ii + 500PF + 1.4 tc


Snow Bunting




Horned Lark--you can see his horns here, not always visible!




Common Redpoll




Eastern Meadowlark. He should be further south now, hope he makes it.




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a bit of iridesence to brighten up a cold windy back garden. We really only started getting starlings to stay, rather than flyover, when we added fatballs or suet feeders to the sunflower hearts - and the same really with House Sparrows although we do have a flock of about 10 that in the last year or so have taken to roosting in the garden (for what its worth the garden list is at 39 with an additional 13 flyovers. The magpies are very cautious and it is rare that they land if they think lurking fools with cameras are about




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I would like to share some of the birds in my backyard in New Zealand. I only have a small point and shoot camera and it is a real challenge to get some of our smaller birds that are so active and quick but I will try my best!

One of our easiest birds to photograph is the tui - we have a feeder in a tree just outside our dining room window.

Tui                         Prosthemadera novaeseeladniae





Harder to catch the silver eye, here  on the bird bath which we can also watch from the upstairs dining room window. Tonight was 

 one of the few times I have seen them on the bird bath

Silver eye or Wax eye     Zosterops lateralis






A regular visitor to the garden is the Kingfisher. Here perched on the windvane.

Sacred Kingfisher     Kotare      Todiramphus sanctus







Edited by KiwiGran
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@KiwiGran enjoying your NZ birds. the Tui's throat tuft makes it look like it's wearing a  necklace with a big white pendant!

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A last batch of pictures, at least so far.


Eurasian robin

















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pah! @Bush dogjust casually throwing out that whole "oh its just a hawfinch in my garden"  schtick  

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@Zim Girl


Thanks a lot for your nice comments.  Hawfinches are present in my garden, during this winter period, only for a few years.  They could be seen in groups of more or less four individuals.  However this year, they are more discreet.

While hoping not to turn the knife in the wound, here is another picture.



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Thanks @Kitsafariand others. I really value Safaritalk and have enjoyed exploring topics more at this time when we cannot travel. I am so appreciative of our situation here in NZ where we are so free from restrictions (have just come out of a 3 day in level 2 back to level 1, the only restrictions being no overseas travel and wearing masks on public transport), the vaccination roll out starts today. I have become an avid reader of the birding threads and am enjoying trying to meet the challenge of this Backyard birding topic. I went out into the garden at 7am this morning - a glorious morning, clear blue sky, 18 degrees and golden morning light. Birds everywhere - fantails, grey warblers, tuis, sparrows, thrushes, blackbirds, even an Eastern rosella (well established here now from Australia). But not one would stay still long enough for me to zoom in and get a photo. Only my friend the tui who posed beautifully and sang for me as if to make up for his feathered friends lack of cooperation. But I will keep trying and in the meantime enjoy watching the birding topics and seeing birds in so many different situations - blown away by the birds in the snow in so many places.

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See now you have got your hawfinch to look mockingly  at us @Bush dog

Very very jealous  ascI have only ever seen one! Lovely photo

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Perhaps, I should not post anymore hawfinches pictures?????

You perhaps have, in your garden, some species that would make me jealous like long-tailed or marsh tits, that I have not seen for years, without talking of the splendid bullfinch that I have only seen once, and more than twenty years ago, in thirty years.

We should organize a like "Star Trek" teletransportation program so that you could be in my garden and me in yours when necessary:) 

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3 hours ago, Bush dog said:

We should organize a like "Star Trek" teletransportation program so that you could be in my garden and me in yours when necessar


Or maybe just put the birds into the teleporter - then each of us could receive them photograph them and pass them on. 

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Thanks @Peter ConnanI am really enjoying this challenge but I have so much to learn about photography. I have decided photographing birds needs huge amounts of patience and perseverance!

This mornings walk yielded some more subjects.

Firstly the native Pukeko, a gorgeously coloured bird though my photos dont really do it justice. In the right light the legs and beak are very red and the breast feathers a gorgeous blue. Not a very popular bird in our garden as they are devastating on vegetables - potatoes, peas, pumpkins, corn totally destroyed so we have to grow everything covered or enclosed. But we know that habitat loss is a real problem for them. We used to lease several acres over the road and graze cattle, there was also a lot of swamp land there which was ideal habitat for pukeko but now it is all houses.


Pukeko     Swamphen   Porphyrio melanotus








These photos were all taken in a small paddock below the house.

Also there were at least 6 rabbits, a real pest on our property this year.





Now for some introduced species from the garden.


Female chaffinch



Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris and Eastern Rosella










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15 hours ago, Bush dog said:



We should organize a like "Star Trek" teletransportation program so that you could be in my garden and me in yours when necessary:) 



Yuuup! just beam me over anytime too!


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Love the native name for the swamphen! and the rosella is very pretty even if it is an invasive species.

Edited by Kitsafari
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No pics, but had a nice first in the house list this morning in the shape of a pair of common cranes! 😊

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  • 2 weeks later...

A few more native birds that we see in our garden

NZ pigeon    Kereru  Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae






The fantails are one of my favourite birds, very friendly and will follow me around the garden looking for flying insects I have disturbed. But very hard to photograph as they are always on the move. This one settled on the railing of our terrace and I photographed him through the window.


Grey Fantail   Piwakwak  Rhipidura fulinginosa




I have been fascinated reading the birding threads how many birds migrate in Europe. Here in NZ we do get lots of waders - godwits, knots, turnstones etc in some regions but here in Taranaki the only 2 migratory birds I know of are cuckoos - the long tailed cuckoo and the shining cuckoo. We frequently hear the call of the Shining Cuckoo and occasionally spot one in the garden. They lay their egg in the nest of the little Grey Warbler, a tiny bird (my bird book lists them as 4.5in) and one year we were privileged to watch Mum and Dad warbler feeding the cuckoo chick which was more than double their size.

I have been trying to photograph the warbler but they are very shy and keep to the top of the trees. This is the best I have managed (heavily cropped). Here is a link to a photo online.


Grey Warbler   Riririro  Gerygone igata







And here is a photo I took last year of the Shining cuckoo in the garden

Shining Cuckoo  Pipiwharauroa  Chrysococcyx lucidus






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