Yesterday we made the trip back to the Waimanu Lagoons in Waikanae. It was relatively quiet on the Lagoon with swans, cygnets, ducks and other waterfowl feeding repeatedly by either uptailing or dipping their necks into the water. Pickings below the water must have been abundant on a full tide.
There were plenty of Cormorants flying back and forth between the water and their nest sites where chicks were needing to be fed.
Cormorants or Shags, both black and pied varieties like this area to nest in. They are very keen on Macrocarpa trees and they build rough looking nests from large twigs and small branches. The nests look untidy from the ground but they must be robust having survived relentless northwesterly gales for some weeks now.
Our hopes were high for another Kotuku sighting and to our surprise as we neared the end of the circular walk we spotted it sharing the Macrocarpa tree with several cormorants. It had flown in while we were elsewhere on the path around the Lagoon.
I was able to take a lot of photos of this rare and very beautiful bird as it perched in the tree and either observed its surroundings or preened itself.
For some reason, best known to this mob of red billed gulls, the cry went out and the gulls wheeled into the air and proceeded to dive bomb the Kotuku.
This photo shows the Kotuku responding to this unprovoked attack.
Fortunately the bullies gave up the game and the Kotuku settled back to preen.
Sometimes you just have to scratch that itch! Look at that long leg and very long toes/claws.
Several other passers-by, in this busy area, also stopped to take photos and to talk about this rare bird. We all agreed we had been treated to a very special experience.
Great photos again, Lyn! What a beautiful bird!
What a thrill to find the Kotuku in the tree as we came back around the path! I think Colin would enjoy drawing this very special bird. In breeding plumage they are very, very beautiful.
As for those rowdy gulls – they really took umbrage at the Kotuku’s presence.
Lovely shots and I enjoyed reading your explanations.
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Kotuku are very special birds and I am so thrilled to have seen one so close and to get some photos!
I see you have travelled around Tasmania. I was there in April this year for my brother’s funeral. It was a short visit but we saw some amazing scenery. So different to New Zealand.
How exciting to see a kotuku! The shag’s nest looks very uncomfortable, but I guess it does the job.
You are right Juliet it was very exciting to see this rare and beautiful bird.
The shag’s nests were up too high to see if they are feather lined but they do look scratchy and untidy. I think we counted at least 8 such nests in one tree!