I had to chuckle to myself for heeding my own advice during our most recent visit to New Zealand! In our eBook New Zealand Tip-to-Tip, I suggested having two cameras ‘at-the-ready’ (one for landscapes and one for birds) just in case an opportunity arose when visiting the Blue Spring. As luck would have it I had a very brief close encounter with a New Zealand Fantail at the Blue Spring.
Before leaving the car I got my Nikon 1 V3 (equipped with a 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm zoom lens) ready for bird photography. Later, as my wife and I crossed a small bridge that traverses the Blue Spring I caught a glimpse of a New Zealand Fantail fluttering near a tree next to the bridge.
New Zealand Fantails are often quite erratic flyers and this particular bird was no exception. It would perch very briefly before flitting from branch to branch. What follows is a small collection of five images. All of the photographs were captured hand-held in less than two minutes. If you check the EXIF data, you’ll see that I had to adjust the focal length of my lens a few times as this little bird fluttered about.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
New Zealand Fantails are quite common forest birds on both the North and South Islands. They are sensitive to prolonged wet and cold conditions, and are seldom found in open areas that are prone to frost.
The birds are prolific breeders and local populations are often able to recover within a year or two after severe weather. New Zealand Fantails have long and distinctive black and white tails. These songbirds are about 16 cm (~6.3 inches) long and weigh about 8 grams (~0.3 ounces). Their diet consists of mainly moths, flies, beetles and spiders. Indigestible portions like wings are often discarded before the remainder of the prey is eaten.
During previous visits to New Zealand I had seen fantails a number of times and taken a few photographs of them. The images featured in this article are the best I’ve been able to capture… a bit of luck during our final visit to New Zealand!
If you enjoyed this article and are interested in reading more information about New Zealand you may enjoy our eBook, New Zealand Tip-to-Tip, which is available for purchase and download at a cost of $12.99 Canadian.
All photographs in this article were captured hand-held in available light using Nikon 1 gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection. I shot in Manual mode using Continuous Auto-Focus with Subject Tracking at 10 frames per second, and Auto ISO 160-6400.
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