Adventure Animals insects Maritime Plimmerton Waves Weather

December 11, 2015 … weirdness abounds

Ugliness is not necessarily uninteresting.

Puriri moth (deceased) in extreme close-up

Indeed, not all images need to be “chocolate box” syrup. Today’s fist image is really an exercise in macrophotography. The puriri moth which I photographed two days ago was now, to borrow from the immortal words of John Cleese, an ex-moth. It was deceased, was no more, was bereft of life. Now I do not intend to make a habit of photographing dead things, but this gave me a chance to practise with the excellent Olympus 60mm macro lens, and the also brilliant Helicon focus-blending software. As a friend said, that lens is so sharp, it needs a safety warning.

Feral rabbit at Pauatahanui

Later in the day I headed West to Pauatahanui and Plimmerton where, for various reasons, I haven’t been for several weeks now. No easily accessible birds showed themselves at Pauatahanui, but there were an astonishing number of feral rabbits which made half-hearted attempts to seek shelter as I drove by.

A bouncy ride on a small boat

In Karehana Bay at Plimmerton, the sea was decidedly rough and a small launch coming in from the region of Mana Island was repeatedly disappearing behind the waves.

In the harbour mouth

Happily, the little boat made its way into the shelter of Whitireia Park where it came close to some bold wind surfers bouncing from wave to wave.

And that’s all I have today.

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September 20, 2015 … finding it in the chill grey weather

Protracted grey cloud, rain and chill winds dampen the spirits.

Royal Spoonbills in a huddle

Nevertheless, until the end of the year, sat least one every day is still the rule. I hadn’t been to Pauatahanui for a while, so that’s where I went yesterday. You know the conditions are tough when the Royal Spoonbills huddle together in the shallow pond by the bird hide.

Enough promises already, where is the warmth of spring?

At Motukaraka point, the tide was out, but despite the somewhat bleak conditions, spring blossom is an antidote to the misery. I think this is an apple tree.

White faced heron dining on crab.

Around the corner of the point, a white-faced heron was silhouetted against the reflected light of the late afternoon sun. It was getting a lot of the small mud crabs that abound in the harbour.

View to Mana Island from Karehana Bay

Across SH2 to Plimmerton, the same late sun peering from behind a heavy cloud provided interesting conditions for a seascape from Karehana Bay.

That’s all today.

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May 7, 2015 … around the edges

Lingering nasty weather imposes greyness.

Crowded mooring at Mana Marina

Unless the sea is either flat calm or spectacularly stormy, I tend to go elsewhere. Yesterday I broke that pattern by going to Mana Marina while the wind was blustery and the water was choppy. It helps to have a splash of colour on a day like this.

Empty bench

At the mouth of the inlet to Porirua Harbour, I paused for a while and watched the surf tumbling in. Any empty park bench spoke volumes about the weather. A lone sailboarder was racing up and down along the beach at Plimmerton, but at least from this side, there was no visible audience.

Little Black Shags

My homeward route took me along Grey’s Rd around the Northern edge of the Pauatahanui inlet. As I reached Motukaraka Point, a hangout” of Little Black shags was resting on the weed bed near the road. I parked and tip-toed to a place where there was a good view. They are fine looking birds and despite the plain plumage, show attractive patterns.

Sacred kingfisher in the dive

Since I was this close I went to the usual spot for Kingfishers and found one on the tree. I had left the big Canon at home so used the Olympus with a 300 mm zoom. It’s not a bad performance for a small sensor and a kit lens, but I suspect that serious birding will require the use of the heavier camera.

See you tomorrow


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March 13, 2015 … here and there

Lunch is a good excuse to go to town.

Lambton Quay
Lambton Quay … the old Public Trust building on the right is undergoing earthquake strengthening

Having arrived early I walked around a few city blocks, grabbing shots here and there. This is Lambton Quay looking North from Midland Park. Then it was time for food. Leuven is a favourite Belgian Beer restaurant. Sadly, I decided to forego my favourite steamed mussels in blue cheese and mustard sauce. Mussels are a food that gout sufferers should avoid, so much as I love them I bypassed the mussels this time.

White-fronted tern, Plimmerton

As I often do, I took the long route home, via SH1 and Gray’s Road with a brief pause at Plimmerton where I was happy to see a flock of White-fronted terns. They usually seem to show up when there is a high wind.

Landscape near Judgeford

On Gray’s Road, having stopped to watch some white-faced herons, I looked behind me and enjoyed the hilly landscape despite the sun-bleached pastures.

Flowers and honey bees

On the way home I knew I need some grocery items so stopped at one of our local supermarkets. As I got out of the car I became aware that I was very close to a whole lot of buzzing honey bees on what looked like an unseasonal pohutukawa or rata. Consultation with net friends suggests it is the cultivated Metrosideros carminea. But the great pleasure was seeing feral honey bees in apparent good health. Colony collapse disorder has made them a rarity in recent years.

That’s all today.