Cormorant in Flight

A little black cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) was fishing in the lake at the botanic gardens. With its belly full it decided it was time to warm up in a tree. I had my Ridiculously Long Lens in Stupidly Extended Mode and managed to get the camera to lock focus as the cormorant circled the lake to gain altitude.

Cormorant in Flight
Cormorant in Flight
Cormorant in Flight
Cormorant in Flight
Cormorant Landing
Cormorant Landing
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Ibis Chick and Noisy Miner and Dragon

The title says it all, really.

It’s mid-autumn and the average peak temperature is still over 30°C. Ibis Chicks should have moved on, Noisy Miners shouldn’t be hunting spiders and Dragons should be awesome. Well, one of these animals is getting it right.

White Ibis Begging
Baby Ibis
White Ibis Begging
White Ibis Begging
White Ibis Begging
“But Mum, I’m still hungry.”
Noisy Miner “harvesting” a spider
Water Dragon on Rock
“Good Morning. I will be your Dragon for these proceedings.”
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Goanna

The birds at the Botanic Gardens started getting agitated and complaining loudly. We strolled over to have a look at the cause of the consternation.

It was a small goanna (Varanus varius). From the size, I think it’s a female. She’s only small – about a meter overall. Her idea of a refreshing breakfast would be half a dozen eggs, or – even better – nestlings. The ibises formed a group of over 10 birds and were tracking her carefully. The noisy miners were going bonkers.

We followed her as she snoopled through the gardens around the lake.

Goanna
The Whole Lizard
Goanna Profile
Goanna Profile
Goanna in Shrubbery
Goanna in Shrubbery
Goanna Portrait
Goanna Portrait
Noisy Miner Objects to Goanna
Noisy Miner Objects to Goanna
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Mostly Birds

A grab-bag of birds and other assorted wildlife. It’s summer, and I think several of these are this year’s babies.

Royal Spoonbill
Royal Spoonbill
Magpie Lark
Magpie Lark
Young Magpie Lark
Young Magpie Lark
Dragonfly on Lily
Dragonfly on Lily
Blue-Faced Honeyeater
Blue-Faced Honeyeater
Blue-Faced Honeyeater
Blue-Faced Honeyeater
Young Blue-Faced Honeyeater
Young Blue-Faced Honeyeater. Their faces are green until they reach maturity.
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Milford Sound – Mostly Wildlife

It’s 120km from Te Anau to Milford Sound. For the first 50km the road follows the lake through farmland. It’s normal, everyday gorgeous. Once you leave the lake behind the road starts to climb. Soon, the terrain goes from ‘Gorgeous’ to ‘Utterly Mind-blowing.”

There’s not much of that in this post. Mountains will come later.

First, a glimpse of mountains to come. There are some shallow lakes in the flat glacial valley floor called the Mirror Lakes. Here’s why:

Mirror Lake Mountain reflection
A Promise of Mountains to Come

Jumping to the other end of the journey, the cruise boats do a loop from the head of the sound (actually a fjord) out to the Tasman and back. Here’s the view of the sound from the sea:

Milford Sound Entrance
Entrance to the Sound from the Tasman

Next: Dolphins! We were fortunate to run into a pod of 12-15 Bottlenose Dolphins happily messing about and hunting in a fairly desultory way.

Bottlenose Dolphins
Coming at you!
Dolphin surfacing
Bad shot. I wasn’t expecting them to surface so close.

Finally, these NZ Fur Seals were having a tough day on the rock. These are young males who haven’t established a territory, so they while away their days goofing with their mates, snoozing on the Team Rock and doing a bit of fishing. Life is tough.

New Zealand Fur Seals
Heat up on the rock, cool off in the sea.
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Tomtit

This little bird came and checked out what we were doing in his home. He’s a Tomtit ( Petroica macrocephala), living near the Hidden Lakes around Te Anau.

 

Tomtit
My forest, my tree.
Tomtit
Same Forest, Different Tree, Still Mine
Tomtit
My Branch. Get your Own
Tomtit
Still my Forest, Still my Branch
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