February 1, 2015 … marooned for the day

That was a great day.

boat

The last of our group comes ashore on Mana before the boat maroons us for the day.

Our camera club has a number of special interest groups, and the one specialises in landscapes is particularly active. Yesterday the group chartered a boat and twenty-seven of us went from Paremata across to Mana Island.

North

A pause while climbing the hill to take in both oxygen and the splendid view to the North

Most Wellingtonians are familiar with the flat-topped island offshore from Whitireia Park at Titahi Bay. It looks steep-sided but unremarkable. There are indeed some steep walls up to the plateau and I was breathing quite hard as we climbed. I was happy to take a few moments to construct a panorama on the way up.

Kapiti

A sea mist seems to surround Kapiti Island

Mana is not as large, nor as well covered with bush nor does it have quite the biodiversity of the larger Island, Kapiti, to the North. Unlike Kapiti, there is sufficient flat land on Mana that it was farmed for many years. It is in very recent years that it has been designated a predator-free reserve, and there has been a determined programme to re-establish native bush and to provide safe habitat for many endangered birds, skinks and geckos.

Wind farm

The West Wind wind farm on the hills above Makara

To the South the two wind farms, Mill Creek and West Wind can be seen clearly, though the day was so calm that the distant blades were just ticking over.

Takahe

Takahe. That bill looks as if it could open tin cans

Of course, I mentioned birds, and there is considerable variety on the island, including whiteheads, tui, fairy prions, yellow-crested kakariki, tui, robins and a variety of seabirds. But best of all, the “back from extinction but still critically endangered” Takahe  (Porphyrio hochstetteri) is breeding on the island. There are now about 275 in the world. It is the largest living member of the rail family, and it weighs in at up to 4.2 kg. It is flightless,  so on an island this small there is a good chance of encountering one.

Chick

Takahe chick. What big feet you have.

We followed the outermost and longest of the several trails on the island for a total of over 7 km and arrived under clear skies and a hot sun back at the shoreline in plenty of time for the boat. To our great delight, some of us saw a takahe chick with its mother.

Ray

Cruising sting ray. This was perhaps 2 metres across and it was amazing how quickly it moved with so little disturbance

By now the sun was really heating us up so we clung to the shade but some of us got excited when we saw the tips of the wings of some quite large sting-rays cruising by at the water’s edge.

Tired but happy.

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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 Animals, Birds, Landscapes, Mana Island, Maritime, Paremata, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to February 1, 2015 … marooned for the day

  1. nzvideos says:

    I think you were very lucky to have seen a Takahe chick, I experienced a number of adult Takahe on Tiritiri Matangi island, but never a chick. Thank you.

  2. Toya says:

    Great shots, I didn’t get to see the takahae – you were lucky! Not sure about that first image tho lol.

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