Don Hadden Nature Photography Black Kite in Flight

Don Hadden

I am a retired school teacher. Thirty years were spent teaching in New Zealand and 10 years teaching in Papua New Guinea, largely on Bougainville Island. During these years I photographed birds in my spare time. In mid 2002 my wife Llane and I came to Australia. Llane is a remote area nurse taking short term contracts, so we have lived in many parts of Australia. We are still on the move. I have been photographing birds and other wildlife full time since we arrived in Australia.

During 8 years on Bougainville Island, with the help of local people in particular John Toruora, I was able to make some interesting discoveries:

  • Rediscovered Heinroth’s Shearwater previously known from only five specimens taken in the 1930s from the Bismarcks
  • Discovered two new species of birds described in the following papers:
    • A new species of Thicket Warbler Cichlornis (Sylviinae) from Bougainville Island, North Solomons Province, Papua New Guinea. Bull. of British Ornithologists’ Club 103 (1) pp22-25, 1983
    • A new species of Bush-Warbler from Bougainville Island and a Monophyletic Origin for Southwest Pacific Cettia by Mary Le Croy and F Keith Barker published in American Museum Novitates No 3511 March 16, 2006.
      The authors named this new bird after me and it is known as Cettia haddeni
  • Found that Woodford’s Rail, possibly thought extinct, was flourishing after the civil war
  • Altogether added more than 30 species to the North Solomon’s checklist e.g. that the Yellow Bittern was a breeding resident
  • Was involved with the discovery of the Bougainville race of the North Melanesian Thrush, written up in the paper; Ripley and Hadden: A new subspecies of Zoothera (Aves: Muscicapidae: Turdinae) from the North Solomon Islands. J.Yamashina Institute of Ornithology 1982 Issue 14 pp 103-107

For as long as I can remember I was always interested in birds and bird photography. Even when I was only 9 or 10 I would borrow my parents’ Box Brownie camera and climb onto the roof of the house to photograph seagulls. We had a bird table and even though it was largely frequented by sparrows I built a screen of sacking (a sort of hide I suppose, long before I knew such things as hides existed) and took sparrow photographs.

I used to deliver newspapers to earn pocket money. Eventually after two or three years I had saved £6/-. I spent it all on WRB Oliver’s “Birds of New Zealand” easily the most comprehensive book on birds published at that time. I was 13 years old and my father questioned me closely as to whether I really did need such a book.

During my later teenage years, my mates and I were surfies and driving to one of our favourite beaches north of Auckland, took us through Warkworth. It was in Warkworth that New Zealand’s premier bird photographer lived. On our way home after surfing one day we called into Geoff Moon’s place. He very graciously showed me how to construct a hide. After that I called in many times. I would show him my recent attempts at bird photography. By this time I had an old Practika and 200mm lens. He would comment on how nice my slides were but I knew he was only being polite. When he realised I didn’t mind my work being criticised, because that was how I would learn, he quickly pointed out all the faults and how I could make improvements. My bird photography improved in leaps and bounds. Geoff and I spent many pleasant hours photographing together. New Zealand lost one of its greatest bird photographers when Geoff passed away in March 2009.

During five years in Waingaro I married Llane and started in on some serious bird photography. Paul Macpherson told me of some strange birds in a small swampy gully. Exploring that area, I found the first nests of the Spotless Crake seen in the North Island. Later I found the first South Island nest. Discovering these nests was pretty exciting for a young man and since then I have travelled widely throughout NZ and its offshore islands. A highlight was a month on the Snares Islands helping a scientist friend Paul Sagar with his work putting satellite transmitters on Buller’s Albatrosses.

Later I joined photographic societies in the various areas of New Zealand we lived in. I did well in the local competitions so tried the National Salon. I found I could hold my own nationally so tried international photographic competitions. Eventually I won an International gold plus various other medals and numerous acceptances. I gave up competing internationally in my 30s as it was an expensive business and we had a young family. I kept supporting the local photographic society. I applied for Honours that the Photographic Society of New Zealand offers and now have a Fellowship of the Photographic Society of New Zealand. At present my pictures are published widely from photographic libraries in London and New Zealand.

Books

Birds of the Outback
By Don Hadden
Published by New Holland, Chatswood, NSW 2010
Hardcover ISBN 9781877069826

Waterbirds of Australia
By Don Hadden
Published by New Holland, Chatswood, NSW, 2010
Hardcover ISBN 9781877069529

Birds of Australia
By Don Hadden
2008. New Holland, Chatswood, N.S.W.
Hardcover ISBN 9781877069604

Birds and Bird Lore of Bougainville and The North Solomons
By Don Hadden
2004. Published by Dove Publications, Alderley, Australia.
312 pp. 199 colour photographs, 25 colour plates.
Paperback ISBN 0-9590257-5-8

New Zealand Birds and how to photograph them (CD ROM)
By Don Hadden
1993. Publisher ProTech International, Nelson, NZ
Information on every bird in New Zealand list, more than 300 species described with: over 160 species illustrated, over 500 high quality photographs in multiple sizes, over 60 photographic tips on bird photography, video clips of New Zealand attractions and bird life, 20 fantastic pictures for use as Windows wallpapers

99 New Zealand Birds
By Don Hadden
January 1990. Published by Caxton Press
112 pp.
ISBN 090856337X

New Zealand Birds
By Warham, John; Brathwaite, Don; Hadden, Don
1983. Published by Kowhai Pub
111 pp. 125 coloured photographs, 4to
Hardcover ISBN 0908598106

Birds of the North Solomons
By Don Hadden
1981. Published by Wau Ecology Institute, Wau, Papua New Guinea
107 pp. 24 p. of plates : colour illustrations

Wild South Birds of New Zealand (CD ROM)
Information, photographs and sounds of 320 birds of New Zealand
Fuseit, Box 324, Nelson 7015, New Zealand

Equipment

At present, I am using a Canon 5D Mark 3 and Canon's 500mm f4 IS lens.