July 1 and 2, 2018, Near Waipara, New Zealand. We were staying in a remote location near the Greystone Winery. Our trip was nearing the end and I was losing hope of getting a good shot of my favorite New Zealand bird: the New Zealand fantail — the Maori names being Pīwakawaka, Tīwakawaka, or Piwaiwaka. The trouble was, being insectivores, they were in constant darting motion playing “you can’t catch me,” which made them very difficult to track in flight, especially with an eight-pound camera-body and lens combination. At last, this one lighted in a tree and scowled at me. Actually, he probably wasn’t scowling, but his coloring made it look that way. I barely had time to focus and shoot before he was gone like a cool breeze.
I was happy, but my wife wanted a picture of a silvereye. Being omnivores, they will occasionally light — except when I’m trying to get a photo and it’s cold and I want to go inside for some hot coffee. But before I realized how challenging it would be, I’d promised not to come back without a good shot. And so I waited, standing perfectly still so as not to spook them, and cold-soaked my body. Finally this guy landed on a nearby fence, adjusted his position for a good pose, and patiently waited for me to get my shots. Portrait made, I went inside. The coffee was good.
The next day we hiked along the side of a canyon, my wife to explore and me to try to get a shot of the large swamp harrier I’d spotted the day before. Unlike her smaller darting distant cousins, this harrier was very accommodating as she slowly swept over the brush, patiently looking for lunch. I got my shot. She got her lunch.
(Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR. RAW processing in DxO Pro; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)