Fine and calm weather, and you will never guess where I went.
Unless you have read any of these blog entries before, how could you know that I always seem to end up at Pauatahanui in such conditions. Nothing was happening in my usual spot. There were kingfishers about, but a thoughtless passer-by with an undisciplined and unleashed spaniel put an end to that. I went over to Plimmerton to see if the one remaining shore plover was about. No life there, so I started the return journey along Grays Rd. As is often the case for people of a certain age, I made a comfort stop at the facility near the jet-ski club rooms at the entrance to the Camborne walkway. My conscience has been getting at me about my lack of exercise recently (I love her anyway), so I thought I had better at least take a walk. Not without the cameras though. I knew the light was good when I saw those beautifully lit toetoe plumes (Austroderia toetoe) hanging perfectly still.
The walk ought to have been its own reward but, great glory, my attention was caught by a flash of white and a splash offshore. An Australasian gannet (Morus serrator) is a splendid sight when it is hunting. These wandering ocean birds seem to be something of an anomaly in an urban setting. This one was cruising up and down the inlet and periodically it would gain height, peel over into a dive, fold its wings and plunge into the sea to emerge with a fish.
Getting off the water again is a laborious process and the gannet, like other long-winged birds, has to build up speed, paddling madly and walking on the water until it gets airborne. Observing this regular pattern set me up to catch it at low altitude in several shots. I encountered another bird photographer who told me that up to four or five gannets spend their winters at the inlet. That was useful information.
On reaching the beach near Paremata, I looked back and found, as I hoped, that the conditions were nearly perfect for a reflection shot of the colourful boat sheds. The boats here rarely seem to move, but what a glorious spot from which to watch the world go by.
On the return journey I found a spot where there seemed to be several kingfishers diving. I shall remember this as a change from our somewhat overworked spot at Motukaraka Point.
And now the wind and rain have returned, but I am happy.