A leisurely breakfast and a good coffee is a good way to start the day.
After that, we were on the road, heading home from Taradale. With the gentle tolerance of Mary, my wife, and Paul, my brother-in-law, I was able to stop more or less as often as I needed for photographic purposes.
My first stop was the Pekapeka wetlands, ten km South of Hastings. We’ve been there before. Last summer’s extreme drought is long forgotten in terms of water levels, but oh, the bulrushes! There is dead foliage everywhere, looking for all the world like badly done craft weaving.
Birdlife seems less prolific than it was at this time last year. Nevertheless, I saw black swans, Australian coots, a myriad of Welcome swallows, mallard ducks, white-faced heron, shags, and a few dabchicks. First to make an appearance was a black swan, advancing majestically towards me like a gunboat ready to declare war. It turned away as I stood taking pictures.
Birds or not, the wetlands have a beauty of their own that varies as you move through the walkways. New weed growing underwater offers promise of re-greening.
Areas where surface weed is aggregated by the current are already green.
And then there are those dried and dead bulrushes. They offer shelter to birds and other life forms as evidenced by the swallows darting in to obtain large insects.
As you can see behind the swallow, those bulrushes are stone cold dead. They do however offer some interesting reflections.
A little further South, somewhere before we reached Otane, I saw a landscape that so encapsulated my love of contrasting colour and texture that I could not pass it by without stopping for the picture.
Then somewhere near Takapau there was a paddock full of black lambs. Oh how welcome is this Spring. I am really ready to believe it is here.
As we approached Shannon on the back road to Levin a distant headlight and plume of black exhaust signalled the approach of a steam excursion running from Wellington, past their base in Paekakariki, to Otaki, Levin and Foxton.
So here we are, back home again.