Tomtit toddlers

by Insiders Dunedin

This summer has produced a bumper crop of baby birds at Orokonui Ecosanctuary near Waitati. Among the most appealing and – let’s just say it – cutest – of these tiny bundles of feathers are the South Island tomtits. Fresh out of the nest, they lack the wariness of their parents and are delightfully curious and inquisitive.
That’s good news for me as a photographer, as they will fly close to check me out or I can move in with my big lens and tripod for the intimate shot I want. Having found a good spot near the start of the Robin Track, I visited it many times earlier in the year and came away with a swag of delightful images of these big-eyed beauties.
Along with the Dunedin Botanic Garden, Orokonui Ecosanctuary is part of my ‘local patch’ – if I take a shortcut, I can drive there in 18 minutes flat from my North Dunedin home. The more I immerse myself in these environments, going back and back, the more I come to know the creatures that inhabit them.
Now that winter is approaching, the feeders will be buzzing with bellbirds, tui and silvereyes (as well as the occasional kaka). On a quieter note, I’m looking forward to wandering the area around the Tane Mahuta statue, listening for the clear, sharp calls of fernbirds on still, frosty mornings..
For more Orokonui images, see my website at
Post submitted by Paul Sorrell


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