Capable of flying at speeds over 100 km/h and catching prey larger than itself, the falcon / kārearea is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular birds.

This older male is engaged in courtship ritual and is perched on an old tree stump that at ground level has been used as a nest previously. The female a few hundred meters away was very aware of my presence, and at the time of taking this photo both were engaged in a rowdy discussion, probably about myself whom they know quite well, perhaps questioning whether or not I should be "warned off" in relation to nesting soon.

The photos in the gallery below are extensively captioned, so if you’d like to read more of “their”  falcon story, click on any one of them, and please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question. All photos by Southern Light..