February 11, 2014 … bright spot in a grey day

Today it has stopped.

Signe Bulker

No matter what the stardate, it will be hard to find the captain’s log among all those others

Yesterday, however, it was still grey and wet, though reasonably calm.  Taking a firm position with myself in the afternoon, I decided to go out anyway, despite the weather. In the harbour, the Lauritzen Lines 20,000 GT log carrier Signe Bulker was at anchor after having loaded logs at her berth for the previous four days. She is bound for Inchon, Korea today.

Feeding time at the bay

High flyers and low flyers

Having driven to Pt Halswell at the Northern end of the Miramar Peninsula to get a good angle on the hip, I became aware of a commotion on the water around the corner in Kau Bay. There were birds in the air and on the water and it was obvious that there were schooling fish nearby.

Buller's shearwater

The shearwater is a very streamlined bird in flight

A quick drive around the bay got me closer to the action, though the birds were moving collectively with the fish coming into the harbour. There was a lot of splashing as the low-flying dark birds, and the high-flying white ones dived in to get the fish. I got quite excited to recognise the low-level surface skimmers as Buller’s Shearwater (Puffinus bulleri). Well truth to tell, I knew they were shearwaters but didn’t know the particular species until I compared my shots with the Field Guide at home.

Shearwater take-off

… on the surface, they are quite clumsy

They are very sleek and fast in the air, but on the surface of the water, they are quite comically clumsy to watch. They take off, like many other seabirds, by running across the water until they gain sufficient speed to leave the water.

elegant in flight

The backlighting made me keep this one

But those white high-flyers were also interesting. What I had first mistaken for gulls proved to be white-fronted terns (Sterna striata). They dived in the same way that gannets do, from a considerable height.

White-fronted terns

This was a small part of the total flock

It’s hard to tell where they will be next, and they never seem to stay anywhere for long. On this occasion they were resting on one of those outcrops of bright orange rock that seem to occur at random intervals around the Wellington coast line.

White-fronted tern landing

Full flaps, power setting to flight-idle, gear down

They fly with such precision and delicacy that I love to be wherever they are.

That’s all for now.



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.
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