When the day is warm and calm, I have to seize the opportunity.
Pauatahanui called, and there was a huge variety of water fowl on the sandbanks and drifting offshore, There were black swans, pied stilts, plovers, gulls, white-faced herons and a very large gathering of Canada geese. A pair of royal spoonbills caught my eye, one asleep and the other having a bad hair day.
Close to my normal viewing place, a family of Canada geese was taking great care of their five goslings, and at the slightest hint of anyone coming near, they would launch into the water. If the threat backed off, they came back.
I sat in semi-concealment for a while, hoping to see kingfishers. Some of us are wondering if the local population was wiped out in the storms of the winter. I can’t recall such a prolonged absence in previous years. As I sat on the shingle, I saw what I took to be a dorsal fin. It was black and leathery looking, and rolled into view and then submerged. It did this twice more before it disappeared and not once did I catch it on camera. The size of the fin suggested something about two metres long, but in retrospect, it is more likely given the shallow water, that I saw a stingray’s wingtip. After a prolonged absence of kingfishers, I went round to the Okowai lagoons near Porirua.
These lagoons were formed when the motorway cut off a part of the Porirua Harbour, so I have no idea of what their natural state might be if and when they are in good health. At present they seem to be a bit of a wasteland with black mud liberally laced with plastic rubbish. However I tend to go there looking for birds, with varied success. A white heron is a reputed visitor, but I have yet to see it. There were a pair of pied stilts in residence, however, and they were clearly guarding a nest. They tried the old “broken wing dance” to lure me away.
The glistening black mud cast up some weird highlights in the background.
As I climbed the hill to the road, it occurred to me that despite an early and prolific pohutukawa season, I had yet to take a serious shot of one this season.
Hope to see you tomorrow.