February 4, 2014 … return of the prodigal

Sitting in my hide on the shingle beside the inlet in the morning sun with the tide lapping at my feet was wonderful.

Caspian Terns and friends

Pied oystercatchers, black swans and Caspian terns seem to tolerate each other

For a long while, nothing happened. Then, right in front of me perhaps three meters away, a kingfisher was sitting on our favourite posing post. Perhaps it was the sound of my jaw dropping, or perhaps the bird detected my attempt at stealthy raising of the camera, but then it was gone. Rats! I need faster reflexes. Ah well, as my photographic friends tell me, patience, grasshopper! I filled in time by looking at what else was happening on the inlet. Out on the sandbank, black swans and Canada geese tend to gather, but lately there has been a growing colony of Caspian terns (Hydroprogne caspia). Apparently these are the largest of the tern family. similar in size to the black-backed gull, with a wingspan of about a metre. They have a distinctively massive red bill which, together with the dark cap, makes them easy to distinguish from gulls.

Gaff-rigged dinghy

When I set up my hide the water was mirror calm. Then the wind came up. Good for him, less so for me

I was enjoying myself in my hide by the water while out on the inlet, someone else was having a good time sailing a gaff-rigged clinker-built dinghy which I presume to be a replica or restoration from an earlier age.


As I mentioned, there are plenty of black swans (Cygnus atratus) about, and at various times of day, depending on the wind and tide, they transition from one place to another. Like the Canada geese they are regarded by most New Zealand farmers as pest birds because they eat valuable pasture and foul it with their manure. Nevertheless, in the water or in the air, they are elegant birds except at the moment of their clumsy landings.


And then, wonder of wonders, the kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus) was back. It perched on a distant piece of driftwood where it beat the crab in its beak into submission and swallowed it. A friend thinks this perch is ugly. I think it has character, and looks like a bunch of wrestlers.


Of course it flew away to an even more distant perch but I am hopeful to see more of them, and with patience (and some fine weather), to get much closer.

See you again.


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 Birds, Maritime, Pauatahanui. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to February 4, 2014 … return of the prodigal

  1. John Titchener says:

    “Ah well, as my photographic fiends tell me, patience, grasshopper!”
    Brian, we are not ALL fiends. Some of us are quite civilised! (But maybe we are spending too much time reading all those meters… )
    But we still love you, Brian!!!

  2. Toya says:

    See patience does pay off πŸ˜‰ I don’t like the perch because it overpowers the beauty of the bird and becomes the focus of the image where the other perches just become an accessory πŸ™‚ Maybe if it was in closer and we could get better shots of the birds it may redeem itself somewhat πŸ™‚

  3. Sp pleased they are back.

  4. I think the photo of the kingfisher is brilliant, and I do like the perch! Makes for a great shot. I like the flying swans too.

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