May 28, 2014 … beginning at the end of the line

It must have been a big bang.

Train crash at Melling

This is not the normal way to park a train. No serious injuries.

For the second time in just over a year, one of the new  trains failed to stop at the end of the Melling Line. Last year, there was a teeth-jarring bang and the concrete block at the end of the line was shifted several metres. Yesterday’s effort was much more ambitions. The driver was approaching Melling and realised that his brakes were not work and yelled to the passengers to brace. This time, the train climbed up onto the concrete block as was stranded there for the rest of the day.  I grabbed a shot as I was waiting at the Melling lights.

Kingfisher dive

Crab diver … the sacred kingfisher in a power dive

Did I mention that the wind stopped? Pauatahanui was near glassy calm, and though the thermometer was not achieving any great heights the day looked warm, and the spirits lifted. Even better, there were kingfishers. After a seeming absence of several months they have come back in numbers.

The kingfisher eats a crab

Down the hatch

Then one of the kingfishers chose a perch near me and seemed to strike a rich vein of crabs. Soon it was enjoying the rewards of a vigilant watch and excellent flying skills.

Royal Spoonbills

Somnolent spoonbills

Occasionally, it would fly off elsewhere, so while I waited for more action I looked to see what else was about. Out on a sandbank, some of the resident Royal Spoonbills were dozing in the sun, sticking their head out now and then to preen.

About to dive

Kingfisher in the pre-dive hover

Kingfisher action was still my primary interest, and I was pleased with some of the sequences I caught. They often hover just before the dive, probably to line up on the intended menu item.

Kingfisher dive

A nice clean entry on its way to another crab

Then it’s head-first into the water,with a significant splash, though I seem to have caught this one just before the big fuss.

Resurface

Emerging with a crab. I guess they have an 80% success rate

Most of the time they emerge triumphant with a struggling crab in their beak.

Return to the perch

Back to the perch to dine

Then its back to their chosen perch to beat the scratchy bits off the crab before swallowing the remains.

Dotterels

Banded dotterels pretending to be rocks

I said my primary target were the kingfishers. Yesterday, however, I struck it lucky as I was driving home. As I reached Ration Point, I saw something irregular about the small rocks  near the water. Parking the car, I walked back to the place I had seen, and could scarcely believe my luck. There  was a significant group of banded dotterels among the rocks. About the same size as the rocks and not greatly different in colour, they had done a good job of pretending to be part of the beach. I got low and did an elbow crawl through the reeds. Happily I didn’t disturb them and got some nice shots of these endangered birds.

It was a good day

 

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About wysiwygpurple

I am a family man, a passionate amateur photographer and a retired academic . What's the purpose of this blog? Well in the first instance it provides me with a platform from which to resume writing, an activity I greatly enjoy. What will the blog be about? Anything that takes my fancy but it is likely to arise from things I see and experience, in my family, in my travels, or anything else I feel like. Each daily post will contain one or more images made the previous day. Sometimes the image will illustrate the points made in the prose, and sometimes the prose will attempt to interpret the image. What kind of images will they be? Always safe for work and family. Usually they will be representational, and sometimes they will be impressionistic or experimental.
This entry was posted in adversity, Birds, Maritime, Pauatahanui, Railway. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to May 28, 2014 … beginning at the end of the line

  1. brent higham says:

    I haven’t been to the inlet for a while with your stunning images you posted I might have to revisit.

  2. Lydia says:

    I’ve been offline and just catching up. That dive series is awesome. Especially the actual impact with the water!!!! Wow! What a moment!! Thank you for all these wonderful photos.

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