Mallard Family on the Halfmoon Bay Foreshore

Spring & Gluttony

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It’s hard not to enjoy a lift in spirits in spring, particularly with the new life that appears. I grew up on a Southland sheep farm, and lambing was my favorite time of year, even though the weather could make it physically demanding at times. Well I’m long past that, but even now watching new generations appear is very enjoyable.

A couple of days ago I noticed our first spring babies. A pair of Mallard ducks in the village proudly parading a family of 7. Today I went looking for them, and sadly, but not perhaps unexpectedly the family was reduced to 4. Black Backed Gulls the probable cause.

Mallards are not native, having being introdued from North America in the 1930s as game birds. We have quite a population around the village, as between the shore insects, lawn grasses and some serious panhandling from visitors and locals alike they can make a reasonable living. Add to this the Islands bird protected status and they are onto a pretty good thing.

Pied Shag bites off more than it can chew.

Pied Shag with Lemon Sole

Driving along Horseshoe Bay today I noticed a juvenile Pied Shag struggling with a small sole. Now shags can be pretty creative in getting down a fair sized fish, But this proved a bit beyond. It struggled for over 5 minutes after I arrived.Maneuveringthe fish from one angle to another, but eventually giving it up in disgust.

Pied Shag trying to swallow a sole

Try it this way instead

OK, That didn’t work, I’ll look for a smaller one

Peter Tait

Peter Tait

Peter Tait is a professional nature guide based at Stewart Island, New Zealand, and he works primarily on Ulva Island Open Sanctuary. Peter has been resident on the Island for over 40 years and was one time Forest Ranger in Charge of Stewart Island. Fishing followed forestry and was in turn followed by Talisker, a 17m charter yacht. He is qualified Skipper Deep Sea Fishing Vessel. In addition to guiding Peter and his wife Iris are hosts at Sails Ashore Lodge.

Peter Tait

Peter Tait

Peter Tait is a professional nature guide based at Stewart Island, New Zealand, and he works primarily on Ulva Island Open Sanctuary. Peter has been resident on the Island for over 40 years and was one time Forest Ranger in Charge of Stewart Island. Fishing followed forestry and was in turn followed by Talisker, a 17m charter yacht. He is qualified Skipper Deep Sea Fishing Vessel. In addition to guiding Peter and his wife Iris are hosts at Sails Ashore Lodge.

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