Tag Archives: prey

Karearea – The New Zealand Falcon

Kia Ora Fellow Gallopers,

The Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre was established in Rotorua, NZ in 2002 and at Wingspan’s core is a commitment to the conservation of the threatened ‘Karearea’ New Zealand Falcon.  Being part of New Zealand’s unique natural heritage, falcons are a taonga (treasured) species to tangata whenua (Māori, people of the land).


A few days ago I visited the Centre to see these magnificent birds. In addition to getting up close with the falcon, the pièce de résistance of my visit was the one hour flying display – that’s held every single day – when one gets to see, first hand, the speed and agility with which these birds fly. The accompanying talk is highly informative and complements the flying display very well.


If you live in Rotorua or happen to be passing through Rotorua and you’d like to see the New Zealand Falcon, then a visit to New Zealand’s first and only Bird of Prey centre is a must. In the meantime, feel free to click here to see all the images from my recent visit to Wingspan.

Till next time, take care and gallop free.

BSP Logo

PS: If you’d like to see my latest images including the birds I’ve been studying and photographing of late, why not follow Black Stallion Photography’s Facebook Page…

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Chance Encounter with a Sparrowhawk

Hello Fellow Gallopers,

A Wildlife photographer learns something new every day – be it about the behaviour of the subjects one photographs or the technique one uses to capture that unique image.

Wildlife photography, for most part, involves investing a large amount of time and energy – both on and off the field – in studying about the subject you want to photograph, identifying the best habitats to photograph your subject in and then waiting and waiting and waiting…

But then again, once in a while, your subject may just present itself right in front of you when you least expect it. A case in point is this Sparrowhawk that I managed to photograph the other day. There was a thunderstorm brewing and I was standing in my living room looking up into the sky hoping to capture a lightning bolt. I had the Canon 70-200mm lens mounted on my Canon 50D and was expectantly waiting for a lightning bolt to strike when, out of the blue, I see a bird of prey land on a fence right in front of me. At first I was not sure of what species the bird was except that it was a bird of prey. It was only after I locked focus on it did I realise that it was a Sparrowhawk. A good friend of mine, and photography buddy, had told me that there was a Sparrowhawk in the area and I’d kept an eye out for it but never managed to spot it and here it was sitting right in front of me, when I least expected it. I fired off a few shots, one of which can be seen below:

She looked like she was not going anywhere and so I took a calculated chance of changing my lens to the Sigma 50-500mm to try to capture a few close up images (as can be seen below). I could not have asked for a more willing subject.

The one thing I have learnt in my very short time as a Wildlife photographer, and from this particular incident, is the fact that one’s got to be ready to capture a shot at any time. When an opportunity presents itself, one’s got to grasp it tight with both hands.

Till next time, take care and gallop free.

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