Some of New Zealand’s birds

I’ve been in New Zealand for almost a week now. I knew I wanted to see and photograph birds, and I have definitely been able to do so. Some of the birds have been a little more challenging than expected, while others have been much easier. And while many are new and exciting, some have been much less exotic than I had guessed.

Part of the Auckland Airport's flock of English Sparrows that can be found in and around the food court areas

We saw our first bird while we were still in Auckland’s airport… English Sparrows (known as House sparrows here in NZ).

Thankfully this was soon followed by more interesting birds that I had never seen before, such as the Pied Shag and the Variable Oystercatcher. Each day has shown new birds, some of them expected, some of them new, and some of them not… such as the day we saw a pigeon that thought it was a shorebird pecking through the kelp on the beach. Serious identity problems, but fun to see in this new incarnation.

Love the Kingfishers. They are everywhere.

The Weka, a rare bird on the North Island (the focus of our travels) has been a delight, but almost equally delightful have been the more common birds such as the fantail, the Tui, and the Red-legged Gull. Some we have our own names for, some we use the terms the Kiwis use. Each however is an adventure, though not all are glorious… Such as the Blue Penguin we found dead on Orewa Beach. It is the smallest of the worlds penguins, and looks even smaller in death.

Our first and only penguin so far- a Blue- sadly however, it was dead

Here is a small sampling of what we have come across, including the quick footed and flightless Weka.

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About Galen Leeds Photography

Nature and wildlife photographer, exploring the world on his feet and from his kayak. Among other genres, he is one of the leading kayak photographers in Northern California. To learn more about him, visit him on his website-
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