It was a hard day to find fault with.
Temperatures are not yet to summer levels, but layers of clothing were removed. Having done birds the day before, it seemed a bit much to go to the inlet again, so I chose to go inland. Whiteman’s Valley is a pretty place, especially when the light is right. The late afternoon sun was definitely “right”, so that’s where I went.
Daffodils are perhaps past their prime in most places now, but a farm paddock full of flowers with a sun-drenched hillside behind seemed to offer a picture.
A little further North, still within the valley, there was a glimpse of greenery with shafts of sunlight. This shot required some gymnastics with a large umbrella to shield the lens from the direct rays of the sun down the barrel. I got a couple of shots with the flare that results from shooting into the sun, and they add a certain mystery to the trees in the background, but I decided to run with the clearer shot.
Back at home, I was on the computer, processing the Whiteman’s Valley shots, when I heard Mary calling me with the suppressed urgency in her voice that said “grab your camera and move very quietly”. I did. Our front lawn is very small and on it there is a small kowhai bush. It is less than two metres high, and is very slender. Sitting on it, methodically harvesting the yellow flowers were three fat native wood pigeons or kereru. The kereru is a big bird (up to 850 gm or 30 oz) and I was amazed that the poor little tree held them all up.
With all the stealth I could muster, I crept out of the back door and around the house to peer around the front corner of the house at the birds. They were aware of me, but continued to eat the flowers. They were very efficient in their harvesting, snipping off the flowers and then tossing them back.
The roof of the house across the road was a distraction in the background, so I began a slow step-by-step creep out into the open so as to get a more neutral background. Their alert level escalated to DEFCON 3, but eating continued. I got several shots that I like, but one of them decided to launch, and presented me with the spectacle of an airborne pigeon over a flowering kowhai tree with two other pigeons in it. The irridescent colours of the wings and green of breast feathers are just a marvel to me.
Even when I set out to avoid birds, they seek me out. Perhaps they are telling me something?
* Daffodils, by William Wordsworth