Family matters took Mary and me on an overnight trip to Napier yesterday.
Because it was a purposeful trip, no pictures were taken in transit. Wellington was wet and grey when we left, and we went up SH1 to Otaki and then through Shannon and the Manawatu Gorge to Woodville. And from there on, the day was all bright sun, green pasture and blue skies.
Having dropped Mary off in Taradale, where she needed to be, I was then free to roam with my camera. Lunch was the first priority so I went to the pleasant, if slightly contrived historical port area in Napier. There I discovered that any place that served both beer and food, charged about twice as much for any given serving of food as the places that served food but no beer. I skipped the beer.
After lunch, I went to the Ahuriri estuary and did the walk around its perimeter. It is a bird sanctuary, so I found myself irritated at the number of people who blatantly disregarded signs that said no bicycles, or no dogs except on a leash. I am generally in favour of bicycles and dogs, but not in bird sanctuaries.
To my disappointment, but no great surprise, the number and variety of birds was small. There were a few kingfishers, some white-faced herons, a few pied stilts and three New Zealand dotterels.
Despite the disappointment, it was a pleasant and scenic walk, and the slightly septic little stream behind the nearby industrial area offered some interesting reflections.
From the old road bridge which is now part of the pedestrian circuit, I could see and hear the traffic rumbling North towards Gisborne.
Nearing the end of my circuit on the Western side of the yacht basin, I saw two gannets. This is no great surprise since it was in easy flying distance of the great colonies at Cape Kidnappers. What did surprise me was that they were actively and successfully fishing in the little harbour.
With the aid of the rapid 8 frames per second shooting ability of my Canon 7D, I caught one in the instant before it hit the water. It emerged a few seconds later with a substantial fish which was swiftly despatched. Though it is one of the most elegant birds in flight, take-offs are altogether more comical, and require a lot of effort, followed by a slow and laborious spiral to gain altitude. And then it does it all over again.
The last shot in this edition is from the gravel beach at Whirinaki, looking back towards Napier. Cape Kidnappers is out of frame to the left.
More Hawkes Bay tomorrow.