July 1, 2013 … mixed emotions

Bright morning, no wind, and a trip to the inlet was imperative.

Eventually, I must break this linkage. As much as I love the birds, I need to be more versatile. However, that is what was on the menu yesterday.

Even as I turned onto Gray’s Road, I could see that the conditions were wonderful. The stilts in the ponds were wading quietly in the astonishing green reflections of the hills behind Whitby.

Pied stilts in the pond at Grays Rd

That green reflection really caught me

As usual, there were kingfishers, and as usual there were several members of the “Kookaburra Club” (the kookaburra is a member of the kingfisher family, the halcyonidae) with long lens and varying aids to camouflage.

Kingfisher at high speed

They are beautiful birds


When it comes to birds, there are real birders, birders who like to take the odd picture of a bird, and photographers who don’t mid if their subject is a bird.

A fellow in a kayak was clearly a real birder. He was sneaking up on the birds armed with nothing but binoculars.

Kayaker at Pauatahanui

A real birder

I made two trips to the inlet yesterday, mainly because I left a piece of equipment behind, and a fellow photographer kindly retrieved it for me. On my way home from her place, the light was so perfect, I had to go back.

Kingfisher emerges from crab dive

Missile launch

Even more of my co-conspirators were there and even more kingfishers. With the high tide they were perched in the big tree by the water’s edge and were diving to retrieve crabs. It was fascinating to watch them re-emerge like Polaris missiles, but always with the crab.

While I was in the upper valley, I dropped in on the model fliers at Trentham to see what my old buddies were up to. Outrageously, for men of their age, they were having fun. This little electric-powered moulded-foam scale model of a North American T-28 Trojan was being expertly flown by a young man who was teaching his father to fly. He took the controls to land well clear of the Rimutaka Prison in the background, where the inmates were not having nearly as much fun.

Model aircraft landing near the prison

Corrections department staff are always a little paranoid that models should not cross the prison boundary in case they are part of some conspiracy to deliver contraband

Another interesting device was this quadcopter, complete with GPS and on-board camera. It’s owner flew it up to about 50 feet and left it hovering there. It was rock solid in its position and very stable despite a steady breeze. He then shut his transmitter down and stood back. The device went into fail-safe mode, and navigated its way to a spot directly above its initial launch point, and then reduced power slowly for a perfect gentle landing back where it started. Amazing. Expensive.

Quadcopter landing autonomously

Not sure about the pilot, but the model had fun

I would have to choose between modelling and photography, and right now photography wins, hands down.

One thought on “July 1, 2013 … mixed emotions

  1. That Kingfisher shot is amazing. You might feel that you overdo it with birds, but you do them so well I would think that the Ornithological Society would welcome you as a member.

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