The rough weather for Wellington was supposed to start yesterday.
It didn’t happen, really, and indeed is still calm as I write. At worst, yesterday was grey and moody with some occasional drizzle. There was no wind at all, and that suggested that the harbours might be still, and possibly beautiful. Sure enough, at Pauatahanui despite the low grey cloud and mist around the hills, the inlet was just serene.
Royal spoonbills were grazing in the shallows near the road, a few ducks cruised without obvious purpose a little further out. The harbour was reflecting colourfully from shore to shore. I knew this had the potential for some special shots.
As I went back to the car I noticed a pair of fantails on a nearby tree kept launching into their fluttering and apparently random circuits and landing back in the tree. Fantails are hard to catch in flight, so I was lucky to get a usable shot. It wasn’t until I got the image on the computer at home, that I saw what they were really doing. That’s a swarm of midges or sandflies and the birds were harvesting them mid-air. I thought for a dreadful moment that I would need an expensive ($100) sensor clean.
At Motukaraka point, I noticed that the kingfishers were present and making the most of the still conditions. I managed one low altitude flyby shot.
However, the milky stillness of the water was such that, on this day, the stars of the show were the pied stilts (Himantopus himantopus) . Their black and white plumage and red legs against the flat calm water were irresistible.
The only marks on the water were the ripples caused by their own movement.
It’s always funny watching a bird hunting through its own reflection. From the outside, it looks a lot like narcissism.
And then the rain came. Not violent, not heavy, but wet. This could have been the start of something big. For some reason I was reminded of an old song made famous in 1958 by Jane Morgan: “The day that the rains came down” * If you follow the link, I chose a version where she sings it in French (Le jour où la pluie viendra) because it has more punch than the English version.
Happy with my day’s shots, I left.
The weather will come.