When I first moved into this house I went & bought a couple of bird feeders – the kind you put grains & seeds into, and while the sparrows loved it I never saw any Tuis go near it… I mentioned it to my sister & she explained thats because Tuis are honeyeaters – they only consume nectar! So I conceded defeat & left it, but the other day came across this very useful article: What to feed wild birds (& what not to!)
Next stop: the pet store to buy a Tui feeder! – some useful tips in this PDF too about maintaining it…
So I put it up a tree and within a day the Tuis had found it & were happily enjoying it!
Strangely one of a pair of Tuis would go feed while the other would remain lower down the tree, and be fed by the other… why? Minimizing risk if its a trap?
So now I am slowly moving the feeder into a better position to take photos… the only problem with this feeder is its very lightweight, even a small breeze will rock it around enough to tip out half the sugar water, so I might get one of these bottle feeders
In the past when I tried to photograph Tuis my shots would always look like this:
Their feathers are so dark that whenever backlit the bird just appears as a dark silhouette. But as that photo a few days ago shows, if you catch the sunlight reflecting off them, their feathers light up in an incredible pallet of blues and greens… Sometimes overexposing the photo can capture some of that tonality, eg:
But still not as radiant as reflected light…
The other aspect I have been trying to capture is a Tui in flight, and a bit of research & practice means I am getting better (eg set iso high to make shutter speed faster, plus set camera on rapid fire and manual focus when bird is on an object meanwhile attempting to predict which direction it will launch in & be ready to fire & attempt to follow!)
This was taken when it launched horizontally off the power wire:
But when it takes off from this tall tree, it seems more to free fall & then transit to flying…