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  • Writer's pictureRubber Monkey

NZ Garden Bird Survey 2023 Spotlight

The NZ Garden Bird Survey is almost over, and we've got even more talented Aotearoa photographers to show off!

Click below to take part in the survey or their photography competition if you haven't already!

Daiki Kato

What’s your favourite NZ Garden Bird?

Tūī are the best models in our garden. I have been trying to capture them with native flowers since I moved to NZ. They are fun to listen to and bring colours to the garden!

What’s your favourite piece of camera gear for bird photography?

I enjoy using the Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Camera with EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens. As a native forest lover, going hiking into a bush to listen and look for birds is the best way to do "Shinrin yoku", the forest bathing. This setup is not crazy heavy for me to carry and helps me heaps to observe flora and fauna closely.

Melyssa FT

I was tracking this little Pīwakawaka when it gave me this full wing fan, it just reminds me of a moment frozen in time and how precious our native and endemic species are – and how lucky we are to have them visit our gardens here in NZ. Photographed in the Marlborough Sounds, Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8.

What’s your favourite NZ Garden Bird?

Tough one! I’m lucky enough to get a variety of native and endemic birds in my own garden but I’d say perhaps the Tūī is one of my favourites. They can be extremely territorial but they are gorgeous birds and I never get tired of listening to their song.

What’s your favourite piece of camera gear for bird photography?

I have 2 favourite combos I switch between for my bird photography, the Nikon D500 with the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Lens and the Nikon D850 DSLR with the NIKKOR 70-200mm 2.8 lens. I’ve always loved Nikon and I wanted reliable gear to achieve sharp photos even in low light, mainly for distant and fast moving subjects such as birds. If I miss the shot it’s me, not the gear that’s failing ;)

Alex Barrass

This image is one I took a few years ago at Zealandia and it is still one of my favourites. This Tūī was perched nice and still and the light was perfectly illuminating its colourful coat. I also like the separation between the Tūī's striking colours and the dim lit background.

What’s your favourite NZ Garden Bird?

I don't have a favourite garden bird species as we are lucky to have so many interesting birds in Aotearoa but they always make me laugh. There doesn't seem to be much going on in their heads and they lack the grace a lot of our other native species have.

What’s your favourite piece of camera gear for bird photography?

My favourite piece of camera gear for bird photography is the Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens. It provides a huge zoom range and great autofocus, especially when paired with one of Sony's camera bodies with the bird eye autofocus mode. But my favourite thing about this lens over previous super telephoto lenses that I have used is its internal zoom design. The weight doesn't shift forwards as the lens extends like on a lot of other lenses in this range making it easier to hold and compose your shot quickly.

Gavin Klee

I enjoy creating a unique look such as this by adding that extra element with the rain drops.

What’s your favourite NZ Garden Bird?

It’s difficult to choose a favourite bird. We are very fortunate to have such a large variety of native and introduced birds around our property. They all have their own unique characteristics and calls. Top three would be a Korimako singing its heart out early in the morning and Ruru murmuring to one another in the evening. Then you have the Kererū with their distinctive woop calls.

What’s your favourite piece of camera gear for bird photography?

Can’t go past my Sony Alpha a1 Mirrorless Digital Camera body with its silent shutter and remote shooting abilities. This allows me to place the camera very close to the subject. No need for that telephoto lens!


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