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I’ve always found fantails to be rather elusive little birds to photograph. Their actions can be quite frenetic at times, and the dim conditions of NZ bush acts as a break to shutter speeds.

The addition of a 70-200/2.8 lens to my lineup though gave me the chance to take a stab at some casual encounters. At a small park in Rotorua, we happened upon some fantails feeding around a still pond at dusk. While light conditions were poor, the birds seemed relaxed about my presence. To contribute to the ambience I was looping an MP3 of fantail calls through my phone/music player.

The feeding off the insects in the pond, contributes to the slightly damp breasts of this bird. Even so, shutter speeds were very low- 1/60 sec for a 200mm lens. This is definitely the kind of subject where a stablised system (in my case camera body) pays off.

The fantail or Rhipidura fuliginosais of course, insectivorous. It is closely related to the Gray Fantail Rhipidura albiscapa of Australia and New Caledonia. The Maori name is PÄ«wakawaka or TÄ«wakawaka. It’s a common forest species (even if tricky to photograph) and is not considered threatened.