Packed full of stunning pictures, detailed information and beautiful bird calls, NZ Birds Online is an online encyclopaedia of birds created in collaboration between Te Papa, DOC and OSNZ.
We’re indebted to the photographers who’ve shared their images with us – and now the world! Joining us for our Meet the photographers series is Craig McKenzie, discussing the perils of too much tea whilst bird spotting.
How did you get involved with the NZ Birds Online project?
I cannot remember if I saw Colin’s request for images first on www.birdingnz.net or through OSNZ. With three reputable organisations involved I was happy to contribute. It is much better to have my photographs seen than sitting around on a hard drive.
What image (or images) are you most proud of on NZ Birds Online?
I like to think I take pride in all my photographs so it is hard to pick one that I am most proud of. There are always some that are more satisfying to get. Usually ones where time spent is finally rewarded or thinking about how to get a difficult photograph and the plan working. Sometimes you get lucky and just catch something different.
I noticed the red-necked stints, very small birds and not easily approached, where feeding along a channel in AwaruaBay. By moving around well in front of them and waiting lying prone where the shoreline made a point they finally arrived. By the time they arrived I was wishing that I hadn’t had so many cups of tea earlier in the day.
Spotted shags nest on the cliffs below the viewing at Taiaroa Head. I always thought it strange that the birds nesting there would head off around the headland to gather nesting material while others would fly in and gather material from where they left. It was tricky working out the returning flight paths. One shag nesting below me did head off and gather vegetation with in sight. So when it headed back I knew exactly where it was headed so I could lock onto it and track it in. I like how the dropped piece of vegetation has caught on the wing.
I had been following the reef heron successfully fishing near Kaikoura. When finished it chose a rock beside me to shake its feathers dry. The camera was able to catch a quirky moment we cannot see.
What’s your favourite bird species to photograph?
I usually answer the question about a favourite bird by saying the next species I am about to head out and try to photograph. At the moment I do not know what that is so I will say rock wren. They are great wee birds and I love to be in the mountains above the bush line so I can kill two birds with one stone. No the best saying, but you know what I mean.
Do you have any tips for aspiring wildlife photographers?
Anyone interested in nature photography should consider joining one of the many photographic clubs around the country especially the Dunedin Photographic Society (my club) and the Nature Photographic Society in Christchurch.
What camera equipment do you use?
I use Nikon digital cameras with lens from wide angle up to those super telephoto that are usually only seen at professional sporting events.
That’s the last in our Meet the photographers series for now, but the NZ Birds Online team will be back soon with more beautiful pictures from the website. Happy bird watching!
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What a lovely surprise when I turned over the F&B calendar to see your magnificent photograph of spoonbills. We are huge spoonbill fans, missing them at the moment & can’t wait for them to return to the Burkes inlets. I love your bird photographs, Brilliant.
Well done, Craig — a fine selection of your work. I remember trying to get those stints at Awarua Bay, too, but lacked your strategy and patience.