Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Birds of Cascade Creek

I finally managed to  get some reasonably decent shots of the rifleman- titiponaumu at Cascade Creek. These tiny little birds with heaps of character are fast becoming my favourites. There were a number of family groups that lived on the bush edge beside our camp at Cascade Creek, along with tomtits- miromiro & bush robin- toutouwai, so I was able to spend a few hours on various days tracking them and understanding their habits. Whenever, by chance, two family groups met on their respective territory boundaries they would let their guard down to chase each other away. Too fast for me to catch on the camera but they made me laugh as they'd fly right past me just a few inches away where usually they'd give me a wide berth hiding under the branches or running up the opposite side of the trunk to where I was.

Each group, usually a male, female & one or two juveniles had quite a small territory and they worked it from end to end checking under and along branches and climbing tree trunks in search of food. Occasionally they would scout around on the ground all the while keeping in touch with each with a high pitched peep. It was this peep that alerted me to their presence and although quite hard to spot if I kept still long enough I’d catch a movement. It was then easier to follow them through the branches.

So here are some of my better captures (shutter speed & ISO noise still caused a few issues on a some but I’m getting there);

Down by the river at the far end of the camp was an area where quite a number of motorhomes parked each night. One had stopped early and the couple had gone for a walk. I was sitting at the BBQ table (fighting off the sandflies) and waiting for the rifleman to move to a large tree above me. Instead they flew down to the recently arrived van and, like the rifleman at Mavora Lakes, started checking it over for dead bugs. The female made me smile when I saw her stretching tall to grab bugs off the end of the mudguard.

And just like the Mavora birds she also flew over to the fire pit to check out the cold embers.

And then out flew a gorgeous little tomtit, flitting about catching insects on the wing. He sat on the tip of a rock and launched himself off it everytime he spotted another tasty morsel and then fly across the road to land on the roadside weeds. Back & forward he flew in the late afternoon sun catching dinner.

Next to make an appearance right beside me was a tui. It flew into a bush and then jumped out and onto the ground chasing what looked like a small piece of paper. He threw it in the air a couple of times and chased it across the ground grabbing it again before finally realising he was being watched and flew off. It still looked like a bit of paper but I wonder whether it may have been a butterfly wing or something. Very weird.

 And of course I must not forget the friendliest of all the birds at Cascade Creek; the bush robin.


  1. Thank you for these very enjoyable bird stories and pictures. A real delight for me.

    1. Thanks Olwen, I could sit for hours waiting, watching and taking photos of birds, you can learn so much observing. Glad you are enjoying them.

  2. Shellie I have so enjoyed reading all your blogs and am now completely up to date! You are filling in all the gaps that we had in our 6 month trip for the whole island. It really felt like we were racing around so it's wonderful to do it all more slowly with you and all your amazing photos. Thankyou and keep enjoying every moment! Love T&L

    1. Haha Trish! Reading all those must have taken many cups of coffee & a fair few glasses of wine to get through! That'll teach you :) Pleased to fill in a few gaps for you too. Thanks & safe travels on the 6th, xx


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