Malachite Kingfisher .. A Bulldog Swan song.

Malachite Kingfisher (Alcedo cristata)

I cannot tell you how long I’ve tried to get a photo of this bird, but at 5 inches, tail to beak tip, you got to be lucky to get close enough.

I got a photo once which was the best I’ve ever got before yesterday, and this wasn’t even in focus… a classic for the “Worst Bird Photography Ever.”

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This is a species common to reeds and aquatic vegetation near slow moving water or ponds. The flight of the bird is rapid, the short rounded wings whirring until they appear a mere blur. It usually flies low over water.

The bird has a regular stand from which it fishes. These are usually low over the water. It sits upright, its tail pointed downwards. It drops suddenly with a splash and usually returns at once with a struggling captive. No wonder it’s called a “KING fisher”..

The nest is a tunnel in a sandy bank, usually over water. Both work together to excavate. the burrow inclines upward before the nesting chamber is reached. There is no nest, but 3-6 round white eggs are placed on a litter of fish bones and disgorged pellets.

The call of this kingfisher is a short shrill “seek.” The breeding song is a chuckling “li-cha-cha-chui-chui.” and in case you’re not sure, the Bulldog’s bark after this capture is “Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”

Now drum roll please….. druuuuuum, druuuuuum, Bulldogs capture… (Applause… Applause… Applause)…





South Westland and Its Little Gems – Okarito

This is another Southern hemisphere piece of heaven, just look at these photos, they are beyond brilliant.. Now if the New Zealanders could just learn to play rugby… LOL


Okarito lagoon and snow capped mountains south westland

If you mention South Westland most people think of glaciers – Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. These are great icons of the West Coast particularly of South Westland but there is so much more to offer in this beautiful part of the country.

Stephen and I are just back from a long weekend staying at Franz Josef. Our good friends Bernie and Gerard run Holly Homestead B&B located just on the outskirts of the village itself.  Beautifully restored homestead and a great time to visit – both for us and them as it is a quiet time for both of us during the winter. Shame really as winter on the West Coast is when we get some of our best weather and this weekend was no exception.  While the rest of the country was getting hammered with a severe snow storm and extremely high winds most of the West Coast…

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Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk, or the N.G. Kerk Moreleta Gemeente.

A Black and White Photo challenge, “Neighbourhood”


     Now this was a real challenge set by Sonel (CLICK HERE TO SEE HER POST)

     In the days of my first camera, an instamatic that took photos in B & W, it was a case of point, shoot and hope for the best. The results would only be known when someone developed the photos for you, and then there were so many “Oh Carp” (no I didn’t spell it wrong, just thought I’d be polite) moments.

      This challenge had me setting the camera on B & W and trying all sorts of settings… in the end I reverted to the Auto setting and did a little manipulating on the computer using my free photo software.

       Why is this so difficult.? Surely when one only has to think of white balance and exposure, this should be so much easier than shooting in colour.

       Well here are the results, and thanks Sonel for setting another challenge for me to discover how to take photos in B & W again.  Now here is my entry for this weeks challenge, a pictorial of the local N.G. Kerk, a wonderful building, good architecture and huge here in my neighbourhood. Seats 7 000 in the auditorium…






Plenty of glass to give great reflections…..




And plenty of shapes and sizes for the challenge…….



and what an auditorium… 7 000 people, three tiers… can you imagine how that must sound when they sing a hymn???


White-breasted Cormorant.

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus)

The cormorant family are normally found at the sea side… and in our country, on every shore we have. But, the White-breasted Cormorant is the only one that has a strictly fresh water population… like us I suppose some prefer the sea to others…

Fish eaters, never seen one with chips yet, it tends to swim with only it’s head above water… much like I live… head above water ha ha…

After fishing they will dry themselves by perching on a branch or rock and as aviators are quite beautiful to capture…..

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Red-knobbed Coot..

An aquatic rail, moorhen that is found in most dams, rivers and streams.. it has long lobed feet that assist it to swim, but is not a member of the duck family with web feet…

The red knobs on it’s head are larger in breading birds and grey in the juvenile birds.

A water weed eater, mainly, but is considered an omnivore, and will take small live prey and the eggs of other water birds.

A few photos I took on Friday last…



The Weed eater………..



And now for something I can’t understand, a bird that dives to the bottom to get weeds, then needs to take a bath!!!



Adjust a few feathers……….


And then check in it’s purse for parking money……