We were driving back from Taupo through Tongariro National Park and decided to stretch our legs for a bit before the rest of the journey. We picked a walk we haven't done before and while crossing the river we spotted a pair of ducks. Just as the lighting shifted as we continued crossing they started to seem awfully blue... Zooming in with my little lens we realised they were the rare whio! Jess ever so kindly ran back to the car to grab my 600mm as there was no way we were missing out on this opportunity.

First view, I couldn't believe my eyes

4 ducklings with parents

Sat on the rock safe by Mum were 4 of the most gorgeous little ducklings we have seen! With cyclists passing through, the parents took the ducklings into the water where they started foraging and showing off those wonderful white water rafting skills. I have never seen such little legs move so quickly!

Mother blue duck with her 4 ducklings

Keeping watch

We followed a small path down to the river and stayed hidden in the long grass to watch the little family. With Mum grooming and Dad keeping watch over the ducklings they didn't seem to notice or mind we were there. Having a 600mm lens came in very handy and I really pushed it to the limits! Unfortunately other path users didn't seem to understand the significance of this young family and caused such a disturbance the whio family moved on. Safely and quickly Dad took the family up stream.


Working as part of a breed for release program means moments like this are beyond magical. We met some lovely people while photographing the whio, but did have some stern words to a family with a dog, who even after putting the dog on a lead continued to walk right up to the whio family and scare them away.

There were signs up saying "no dogs" as well as many about the whio and how they are protected wildlife. To help continue supporting the conservation of this species, please follow signs and respect the wildlife and their home.

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