"Orbell" - one of the new takahē at Zealandia - is now visible to the public if you keep your eyes and ears turned on. Binoculars help too! Orbell's partner, "Nio", remains elusive, but if you listen, you can sometimes hear them calling to one another. This morning we hoped to get lucky and get some of the first "public" photos (i.e., photos from public tracks and without needing privileged access) of the new, blue, dynamic duo.
The first clue that we might get lucky was the sign of fresh "taka-poo" on the stop bank. We then heard Orbell's low booming warning call, letting us know he was somewhere nearby. We got some glimpses of him through the undergrowth in the wetlands, and then he kindly headed out into the grassy area in the middle of the wetlands where he was in easy viewing. It was such a delight being able to point him out to visitors!
After feeding in the grasses for half an hour or so, he headed back into the more shrubby area and came over to check us out, while remaining the other side of the creek in the safety of the undergrowth.
It was definitely the day for long lenses and manual focusing as there was never a clear view of him without grass or leaves in the way. I'm pretty happy with these shots, knowing with his increased confidence that soon we should get some closer unobstructed views of him.
If you're hoping to see or photograph them - like when viewing any shy bird - stay quiet, keep at a distance, and be respectful of their space. Going in at a quieter time, like first thing in the morning, is also advisable. And if you do get lucky, do post your photos on Zealandia's Visitor Art & Photography facebook page.
Judi Lapsley Miller
The natural world and wildlife conservation provides endless joy and despair, beauty and devastation. I strive to advocate for our endangered species and ecosystems and am currently exploring wildlife advocacy through creative interpretation.