January 12, 2014 … no goatherds up here

Getting to the top of Te Mata Peak on a mountain bike is no mean feat.

From Te Mata Peak

With the Hawkes Bay spread out before me

I never could do it, but admired the ease with which the very athletic man we were driving behind was achieving it. At the top I set up a four-shot panorama looking to the West and North. If you are familiar with the Hawkes Bay you will see Havelock North immediately in front of the hill, with Hastings City out beyond that. Over to the right, Napier is on the Coast and Clive is just on the nearer side and that the river on the right emerging from behind the railing is the Tukituki. You may get the impression that the hill drops away very steeply almost 400 metres to the valley below.


A few seconds earlier she was quite a way below us

This steep drop makes it a very attractive venue for the paragliding community  who like to launch from the top of the hill. As we arrived there were four enthusiasts preparing to do exactly that. From here it may be imagined that the only way to go is down. It is not so. Within a few seconds of launching each of the pilots in turn was rising rapidly, and I could hear the rising and falling tone of their electronic variometers telling them when they were in lift or in descending air. I imagine that they were making good use of the wave lift over the hill, though the day was warm enough for there to be thermal activity as well. I was a bit surprised that the young woman in the picture was flying cross-legged. Anyway, there were soon a bunch of paragliders circling very high above us.

Pukeko on guard

The periodic raising and lowering of the “periscope” from different locations was comical to watch

In the afternoon while Mary was doing the family visit, I was turned loose in search of birds or other subjects of photographic interest. In all honesty I was not very successful yesterday. I saw fewer bird species than I have in the past, mainly black swans and shags. On the wetlands just South of the Napier airport, there were hundreds of black swans still guarding their grey fluffy offspring. A few ducks and gulls mingled but nothing that I regarded as a photograph. A squawking from the long grass on the other side of the track alerted me to the presence of some Pukeko or swamp hens (Porphyrio porphyrio). I think I must have been near a nest because there was a heightened degree of alarm, and every so often a red-tipped periscope would peer above the grass to see where I was.


I hoped it might have been the much rarer Cirl Bunting, but I am reasonably sure it is the yellow-hammer

Another close encounter was with a yellow-hammer (Emberiza citronella) which clung to a dried fennel stalk and eyed me warily.

Looking South to Hospital Hill from a deserted section of beach North of Westshore

Napier is a pretty city

From there I went out to Westshore, crossed the apparently disused Gisborne railway line, and from the pebble beach, looked back towards the city. It was a magnificent blue day, with just a few clouds.

Windswept grasses

These are beautiful to watch, though I gather they are unwanted invasive species

I am not sure what the temperature was, but there was a sufficient onshore wind to keep it pleasantly warm without going to extremes. Perhaps 26 degrees or so.  The wind was sufficient to induce a great deal of movement in the seed heads at the top of the beach.

Back home now, more tomorrow.


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 Aviation, Birds, Clive, Hastings, Landscapes, Napier, Te Mata Peak. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to January 12, 2014 … no goatherds up here

  1. out10about says:

    I’ve cycled up Te Mata peak before and it is tough. You’ve got some great shots here. Bravo.

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