October 16, 2013 … wet and dry, birds and flowers

I may have driven in worse weather, but I can’t remember when.

As we went up the Desert Rd, visibility dropped. No mountains were seen, and in fact we saw nothing much beyond the sides of the road. We stopped at one of the many torrents of rushing water (in this case, the Oturere Stream) and I captured the moment while trying not to get too wet myself.

Oturere Stream in flood

For such a tiny creek, this was a raging torrent


On down the long slopes towards Turangi and the visibility improved not one bit.

On the road near Turangi

Normally Lake Taupo should be visible from here

In Turangi, where we stopped to buy lunch. A most excellent steak, bacon and cheese pie was my choice, then the weather took a turn for the worse. A shrieking rain squall descended on us, as heavy as any rain I have ever seen. And then it was gone. A kowhai tree near the car park where we were eating was suddenly swarming with waxeyes. I speculate that the rain made the nectar in the blossoms more accessible.

Waxeye on kowhai

After the rain

From there to Rotorua was, by comparison, uneventful, with just occasional ordinary showers of rain. Our motel at Ohinemutu looked out over the lake, and the rain-washed scenery tempted us to walk along the lake-edge walkway to Sulphur Point.

Little shag

I am not sure if this one is rebellious or just having a bad hair day

I have never seen so many scaups in my life. We get them in ones or twos at home. Here there were hundreds of them, many of them asleep on the water. Little shags were plentiful too, and one in particular gave an excellent impression of a rebellious teen going through a punk phase.

Waxeye at dinner

You may have to click to enlarge to see what’s on the menu

As we strolled though a bushy part of the track, some waxeyes caught my eye, and I photographed one that I thought was carrying some nest-making material. When I got back to the computer, I realised that it was carrying dinner … a nice tree weta, ideal for someone on a high fibre diet.

The Welcome Swallow is vary fast and agile

I am sure it can be done … one day I shall get one close up and well focused

Welcome swallows were present in large numbers, and their darting presence should have alerted me to the fact that there were millions of small biting insects around too. These are such fast and agile birds that I have yet to get a satisfactory shot of one in flight. This was the best I could do on the day.

Two Welcome Swallows sitting for a portrait

Such great beauty in such a small package

On the other hand two of them posed prettily for me and reminded me why I want to catch that great in-flight shot.


Not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these (Matt 6:29)

By now the light was starting to go, so we strolled back through the Government Gardens (I have visions of hot-houses full of baby civil servants), where a bed of poppies snatched the last bright light of the day.

Amorous pukeko in pursuit of a reluctant partner

Look at the size of those feet

As I was making that shot I was almost run over by a hormonal pukeko with high hopes and low ambitions in hot pursuit of his lady-love. Or vice versa. Anyway, the pair of them disappeared at high speed over a hill in the park. I don’t know whether the pursuit was successful.

The weather was rubbish but what a great day.


About wysiwygpurple

Retirement suits me well. I spend much of my time out making pictures, or at home organizing and refining my pictures. This blog provides me with a platform from which I can indulge my passion for improving my photography and at the same time analyze my thoughts about what I have seen, where I have been and what is happening in my life. My images set out to be honest, but that does not mean I have not adjusted them. I use software to display what I saw though the viewfinder to best advantage. My preference is for landscape and nature, and is mostly centred around my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand.
This entry was posted in Bay of Plenty, Birds, flowers, Rotorua, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to October 16, 2013 … wet and dry, birds and flowers

  1. Toya says:

    I am envious of that waxeye shot! That is national geographic material!

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