Catlins Photography Trip Part 2 – Orokonui EcoSanctuary

Day 2 of the trip was down to Dunedin, to stop at the Orokonui EcoSanctuary and Cloud Forest.  You turn off at Waitati and take the old Mt Cargill Rd, winding up the hill to a surprising height.  The sky was starting to clear and day warm up when I got there, so got changed, loaded up the camera bag and ventured in.

Rock outcrops and native forest

There are several short walks and a loop that takes a couple of hours.  I didn’t have enough time for that so I walked to one feeding station, and saw a bellbird feeding on flax flowers close by

Bellbird feeding on flax flowers

There are many native birds in and around the EcoSanctuary, its fence and pest free to protect the flightless birds, of which our Kiwi is one. Being nocturnal I didn’t see any but they left some footprints behind in soft soil the night before.

Kiwi footprint

Headed back to the other feeding station and was delighted by this view down to Blueskin Bay and up the coast.  Was a glorious day when the clouds broke up to let the sun through 🙂  I got sunburnt a bit too!

The feeding stations have two nectar drips, as most of our native birds are nectar drinkers.

Bellbird on nectar drip

Many other birds make the EcoSanctuary home, I saw sparrows come take a drink of nectar, as well as bees flying around (one in the bellbird shot above)

Female Blackbird I think

Of course the stars of the show are our natives, often shy and hard to see.  Partly because they live in dense bush and are impossible to find unless they come out into the sunlight.  Orokonui offers lovely opportunities to view them near the feeding stations, and I sat happily with my camera quite close for a good half an hour.

Famed for its glorious song, the Tui is also a beautiful bird with subtle iridescent tonings to its feathers, viewable in the right light

Several bellbirds were having a territorial fight right in front and even flying right above me.  I love how you can see the nectar drinking tongue so clearly as they squawk in outrage at each other 🙂

Bellbirds arguing loudly with each other

Tired but happy I decided to carry on down the same road into the back of Port Chalmers.  It offered some lovely scenic views on the way down

The hill to the right is part of Orokonui, showing the coast north – click for a larger view

And heading down the hill on the Dunedin side I got this view of the entrance to the harbour and Tairoa Heads

Click for a larger view

Finally the oddest thing that I came across was while parked taking the above shot.  Some feral roosters popped out of the scrub and trotted across the road to fossick in the grass

Feral Roosters

Changing lenses I also found a sandwich leftover from the day before I threw down and it disappeared quick smart to the four roosters.  And then this handsome fellow came along

They ducked under the fence and carried on down the hill, and greatly amused by our encounter I carried on into the city and lunch with my step-sister before hitting the road for the long haul south.

Part 3 – Waterfalls and Scenery Oh My! coming soon.










About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
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13 Responses to Catlins Photography Trip Part 2 – Orokonui EcoSanctuary

  1. Ruth says:

    You have some really stunning shots here! A joy to behold!

  2. mississhippi says:

    I must admit to never having heard of feral roosters before… lol

  3. EMoon says:

    What stunning bird pictures–including the bellbird’s tongue. On a visit to NZ a few years ago I was fortunate to hear both bellbirds and the tui, though I didn’t see either…very exotic-sounding to me, and lovely.

    • lensaddiction says:

      Thankyou 🙂 A tui in full voice is a wonderful sound, tho at 5am I admit to being less enraptured!

      When were you in NZ? Where did you get to go?

  4. Carolyn Elcock says:

    Beautiful bird photos, hard to choose a favourite but I think it has to be the tui. Those feathers are stunning

  5. nzrileynz says:

    The photos of the birds are amazing, my favourites are the Bellbird eating the flowers and the Tui, the lighting is amazing on the fathers, and I swear the Tui looks like it was posing for you! 🙂

    • lensaddiction says:

      I think he was posing for someone, not necessarily me. I just got lucky. Orokonui is a great place for a photographer, highly recommend a whole day tho 🙂

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