Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spring greetings

It’s that time of year again, time to defrost and shake off the winter blues! For a wildlife photographer Spring’s arrival brings so much anticipation and excitement. It’s a time to capture the essence of new life from territorial disputes to nesting birds and incredible courting displays. It’s a time to finish last year’s projects and to start new ones… so much to do and so little time. This is truly an amazing time of year!!!

So here's a few spring shots to start of another season :) 

Pukeko Nest, Christchurch
Pukekos are very social birds, and copulation and courtship within a territory occurs between all adults members, this social breeding is thought to help synchronize sexual cycles allowing several females to lay in the same nest at the same time.  Incubation is shared by both males and females and only adults incubate. Each female will lay up to 6 eggs, and a communal nest can have up to 12 eggs from 2-3 females.

Pukeko chick, Christchurch

Being highly social birds, all birds in a territory assist with chick care, so each chick may have a parent, aunt/uncle, older brother/sister as a minder. In this photo an older family member helps feed a chick.


Variable Oystercatchers, Opoutere Beach

A pair of endemic variable oystercatchers (Haematopus unicolor) patrol their territory. Variable oystercatchers are very territorial during the breeding season and will defend their territories sometimes aggressively. Nests are laid in a shallow dish of sand or shingle where the female lays 2-3 eggs.

Black swan cygnets, Christchurch

In this photo two black swan cygnets hitch a ride on mum's back. Parents often carry young cygnets on their backs  for protection and warmth. Cygnets are tended by their parents for approximately 6 months.

Banded dotterel nest, Lake Ellesmere

The banded-dotterel nest is a simple, well disguised scrape in the ground where usually 2-3 eggs are laid. Incubation is shared by both sexes. In April most birds migrate to Australia or the north of the North Island where they escape the cool temperatures of the South Island winter (smart birds).  Notice the two bands across the birds breast which give the bird its name.

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