Birds Family Napier Taradale Weather

June 21, 2014 … solstice sunshine

Yesterday morning, my windscreen was misted up on the outside, so naturally I turned my wipers on.

The conditions were just perfect and even from here I could see spoonbills, stilts, geese, and other waterfowl.

Instead of wet clear glass, I got that mocking dry rasp of rubber blades bouncing on ice. The clear blue sky in Taradale and the morning chill should have warned me, but the day looked so perfect, so innocent, I had not expected ice. Having cleared that mystery, and the windscreen, I went out to Ahuriri. See how still the morning was. No ND filters were needed here. This is a simple shot, as seen by the camera.

Mallard ducks trying to decided whether to run away from the person with the camera

I began my exploration on SH2 looking to the West, and though common mallard ducks would not normally excite me, I just loved their setting.

Shades of blue

Obviously the morning was so perfect and so full of promise that I decided I should walk the 4 km circuit of the inlet and see what else  I could find. Again the stillness was captivating and I enjoyed the shades of blue in the sky, in the hills, in their reflections and in the water.

Pied stilt in flight

My first encounter was with pied stilts which are plentiful around this inlet. They are shy creatures though and flew off if I came too close. The bird and its reflection were appealing.

Kingfisher lurking at the edge

As I approached the now disused Napier to Gisborne railway line, I spotted a kingfisher lurking. Since I was dressed for the funeral, I chose not to leave the formed path, and settled for the distance shot.

Bar-tailed godwits staying on for winter

Walking beside the railway over the old road bridge, I spotted a significant flock of bar-tailed godwits which I expected to have left on their annual migration to Siberia by now. It seems that some proportion of them “winter over”, and will not make the trip until next year.

The old bridge at Ahuriri

I got many more shots on my circuit of the inlet but the last one I put forward in this edition is a panorama of the old road bridge, stitched together from six separate hand-held images. It was a perfect morning.

In the afternoon, we said our farewells to, and celebrated the life of, my late Mother-in-Law, Catherine Bidwell, a fine lady. May she rest in peace.


Architecture Hawkes Bay Landscapes Light Napier Taradale

May 15, 2014 … in the not-so-sunny bay

Napier was not living up to its sunny reputation.

This tired old cart is itself becoming compost, even as it acts as a planter for flowers on its deck. I liked the lichens on the spokes and the web in the hub.

The motel in Taradale is very pleasant, and the first thing I saw outside the window was this decoratively displayed ruin of a farm cart. Despite the rotted wheel rims and the flowers growing through the cracks in its decking it was very attractive.

Cloudscape somewhere near Havelock North … from Roy’s Hill Reserve

After lunch, Mary was visiting her mother and I was turned loose to pursue photographs. I went out to the Fernhill area, near all the vineyards planed in the famed Gimblett gravels. Nothing much left on the vines by now save some autumn leaves. I chose to visit Roy’s Hill reserve, which is a small knoll just out of Fernhill which offers spreading views across the area. Cumulus clouds out to the East were worth a look.

Vineyard impressions

While I was up there, I experimented with a technique I saw in Blenheim of panning while the shutter was open, to try to capture an impression of the colours of the post-harvest vineyards.

Old building
Weary old building in Fernhill

Back at ground level, the road took me though the old village at Fernhill and this rather forlorn old store.

Oak avenue
Oak avenue – Ormond Rd, Hastings

From there, the road took me back towards Hastings where I saw this historic oak-lined avenue. A police car was lurking at the edges to catch anyone defying the 60 km/h speed limit. The officer offered to move his car if it were interfering with my picture. I like our police. I didn’t need to move him, but was glad to have his eyes looking out for me as I stood in the middle of the road to take this shot.

I hope the sun comes out soon.


adversity Cape Kidnappers Napier Taradale

April 21, 2014 … in sombre mood

As I write this, the Radio NZ Concert Programme is playing the 1812 Overture.

Waves at Napier
Napier beach, near the port. The slow exposure has flattened the short sharp waves

We have just arrived home after our very hasty trip to Napier. Somehow the mood of Tchaikovsky’s beautiful opening movements matches perfectly with my perception of the scenes I was taking yesterday. As I mentioned Mary and I had dashed up to Napier to be with Mary’s mother who had suffered a serious health set-back and we feared the worst for her. Happily she staged a come-back so for now, at least, all is well.  Mary sat with her mother and I went to the beach at marine parade to contemplate the meaning of life and to take pictures.

Waves at Napier (2)
Looking South along the beach to Cape Kidnappers. Again the waves are flattened by the long exposure.

It’s a fearsome beach comprised of billions of small grey pebbles. It shelves very steeply and the relentless waves produce a tremendous backwash. It has claimed many lives over the years. This is a beach to look at rather than to swim at. However the grand sweep of Hawkes Bay from Cape Kidnappers in the South to the Mahia Peninsula in the North is a magnificent place for contemplation.

Moody afternoon
Westward into the setting sun, from the ridge above Taradale

Later in the day, I went up the road through Taradale, and from a ridge looked at the moody landscape to the West. I am quite unsure which ranges I am seeing in the distance … poring over a map leads me to believe they are the Glenross range and the Black Birch range.

More tomorrow.