By way of a change, I went down to the South Coast through Wainuiomata.
The journey is a reward in itself. The road follows the river down its narrow path between steep hills on either side. The river meanders from side to side, whereas the road tends to cling to the Eastern hills. The farmland does not look particularly fertile or productive, and indeed there are a number of farmlets that are clearly more about a way of life, than making a living. The valley has been inhabited for a long time and has been farmed since the earliest days of European settlement. There are few remnants of the old days, and one much photographed derelict came much closer to final decay in the recent storm.
Down on the coast a brisk wind and deep blue water made a perfect foreground for the distant snow-clad Kaikoura ranges. The whitecaps will show up if you look at the larger image.
This panorama is a stitch of fourteen separate images. There were more, but I failed to overlap properly, and you can’t have a panorama with gaps in it.
On the way back towards Wainuiomata, I paused at the Rimutaka Forest Park, a much loved hiking and picnic area. As I drove in, I saw lots of bird life. Though I had intended to take a break from birds, I parked to get shots out of my driver’s window of some native wood pigeons in a roadside tree opposite. A ranger came up behind me in his truck, and then stopped rather than overtake me and drive through my shot. What courtesy. At the ford, where the river runs over the road in flood conditions, there were lots of fantails.
I chose this image because it includes the spider web, and I am unsure whether the fantail has its eye on the spider’s pantry, or the spider itself. Truth to tell, I simply didn’t see the web when I took the shot and discovered it later on the computer.
And then a little way further in, near the main car park, I saw a flock of New Zealand native wood pigeons (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae). I have often seen pairs, but never seen a group of six before. (With the long lens, I could not zoom back far enough to get them all in). The tree they seem to like so much is Tagasaste, or Tree Lucerne (Chamaecytisus palmensis). They like the flowers and leaf shoots.
Resuming my homeward journey, there was yet another compulsory stop. I saw an opportunity for an image of rim-lit sheep (the title “gilt-edged investment” came to mind) but I was diverted. In fact, I was “photo-bombed” by an Australasian Harrier (Circus approximans). I got some better shots of the harrier, but couldn’t resist one with the sheep in the background. It was interesting to watch lesser birds scatter to the four winds as this predator cruised by.
And that will do for the day.