Friday, 10 October 2014

Pied Shags

                Takeoff and Landing, a pied shag in breeding colours.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Gull versus Heron

  In this sequence of photos I captured a gull getting territorial over a rock near the Whakatane Rivermouth. A white-faced Heron had landed on the rock and the gull took exception to it and started a swooping attack on the Heron. There was only so much the heron was going to take though and after what was essentially only a few seconds the heron started to fight back. In the final image I'm not sure if the heron was chasing the gull or just leaving the premises.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Kingfishers and crabs

The past week I have become enchanted with Kingfishers. They've always been an elusive subject but with my new camera and 150-600mm lens I finally feel like I can do them justice. A breeding pair of them feed at low tide in an area near the childrens playground at the Whakatane Heads, the male brightly coloured and bolder in attitude too. Their main food source right now is crabs which they are catching in abundance. They catch the crab in their substantially sized beak and the first mission is to break enough of its legs to enable it to be swallowed. This they do by bashing the crab violently against a rock. I have photographed this action and noticed that while they are doing this the nictitating membrane  covers the eye to protect it. This is a translucent membrane that acts as a third eyelid to protect the birds eye, in this case protection from flying crabs legs! It accounts for the strange look in the kingfishers eye in photo number 4 and gives the appearance that the bird is blind. I can assure you this is not the case and they have excellent eyesight!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Cemetery Cicadas

Yesterday I met Mum at a special place I know where the cicadas are super abundant. The spot is a cemetery with a large grove of some lovely tall trees and the noise of cicada song is deafening. I was collecting the skins the cicada pupae moult when they emerge from the ground and become adults. We "picked" cicadas for an hour or so filling plastic shopping bags with the little buggers. They are resources for future artworks - I have done quite a series using them as my chosen material. When we finished we celebrated with a picnic of cold chicken. While eating I contemplated and realised it's not everyone's Mum who would help pick cicada skins (but I must admit it's not the worst thing she has been roped into.)              
I photographed these as I realised they represent at least 3 or 4 different species. The tiny one I have never come across before and only measured around 15mm, half the size of the largest cicada.

My "Cicada Tree" above was a work I completed last year as part of my Advanced Diploma.