Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rifleman Nesting Time Take Two

Well another nesting season has almost finished and at first I though it was all over too quick as I found a few nests that I had limited time with them.
Some of the nests were in very dark places so I was on the search for better nests both in lighter areas and closer to the ground.
I found my first nest of the season 6-7 meters up a dead tree but it wasn’t really what I wanted to I kept on looking then found my 2nd in a punga tree but it was right on the edge of a track to wouldn’t be great setting up a hide there :)

I found a few more nests that were still up too high so started looking at the area I had found the lower nests before, it was by now that their nesting patterns were into full swing and the chicks were almost grown up so one pair had created a new nest in the same area I photographed the previous year "I did check this area at the start of the season but nothing"
So I spent the weekend photographing and trying out new techniques on this nest.
One of the highlights was seeing the chicks for the first time I managed a few shots of them a day or two before they left the nest.

Male Rifleman about to feed chick

At Nest hole

Rifleman Chick

Female Rifleman at Nest

Male Rifleman at Nest

After they left the nest I decided to keep looking around for new nests and about 50meters away I found another one but most of the birds were banded on this nest so didn’t really spend too much time there.
After that the bush was full of baby rifleman around boundary stream so nesting season had stopped until I focused on the nesting NZ falcons.

Banded Male Rifleman at Nest

New Zealand Falcon

It was then that I re found a pair of rifleman bringing nesting material to the nest of a old nest I found on the ground, so the next weekend I went to photograph the nest and no birds were around the area.
After leaving them for a few weeks and focusing on the falcons I decided to check out the nest again and that pair had raised one chick and even better they have decided to re-nest again!
When I arrived the female and male would take turns at sitting on the eggs inside their nest hole so I managed a few shots of them and even better this nest is in the open so natural light could be used.
The next week they started to feed the chicks and the insect gathering began.

Rifleman Wing Blur

Female Rifleman in the Wind

Male Rifleman

Female Rifleman with Horsefly

About to Takeoff

Female Rifleman at Nest on the Ground

 Hope you enjoyed the photos of New Zealands smallest bird.