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June 26, 2018 … and still it goes

With a very few exceptions, in the last week or so, we have been experiencing Wellington’s version of winter. That translates as heavy overcast, strong wind, interspersed with rain or occasionally hail. We rarely get snow, but some of our worst days are chilling to the bone. And then there are the exceptions. So let’s see what happened since the last post.

White fronted terns on parade, with a gull seconded to learn from them

You know it’s a rough day when you see the terns taking shelter. It was very unusual to see them lined up on the handrail of Petone Wharf with one red-billed gull intruding.

The dog was having great fun ignoring all orders to hand over the stick

A day or so later, the wind died away, though the overcast persisted. Nevertheless, the day was sufficiently benign that people were out walking their dogs on Oriental Bay beach.

HMNZS Hawea leaving port

While I was at Oriental Bay, a different shade of grey made its way into my field of view. The Inshore patrol vessel, HMNZS Hawea was visiting the city. Despite its ferocious military appearance, this is a typically New Zealand version of the military as the ship is unarmed except for hand-held weapons. It has neither missiles nor a main gun.

Pied stilt juvenile at Pauatahanui

Then we had one of the exceptions, so Pauatahanui called me. A juvenile pied stilt is seen here stalking slowly around the pond looking for food.

A lovely morning on Pauatahanui Inlet

From a little further around the inlet, the reflections were very nice and Mt Rangituhi and Colonial Knob appear above and below Paremata.

Winter fires in Naenae

The next day began well enough, but very cold with a deep frost making the roads icy. Across the valley, home fires added to the river mist drifting Southward from Naenae.

Hokio Beach

A day later, Mary and I took a packed lunch and went up to the Foxton Beach area in search of birds or pleasant scenes. Unsuccessful up there, we arrived at Hokio Beach just South of Levin where the water was perfectly still. I turned to pick up my camera and the wind came in from the West destroying the perfection I had just glimpsed. We ate our lunch in the shelter of the sand dunes and went searching for some fragment to recover from the day. A small fishing boat being recovered was the best I could manage.

Tiny fungi – type unknown

Then the wind came back in earnest. I suggested to Mary that we visit Trelissick Park which follows the Kaiwharawhara  stream as it flows down the sheltered Ngaio Gorge. I was delighted to spy these tiny fungi, each smaller than the nail of my little finger. Note the two aphids on the rear-most fungus.

School of business – Wellington … I used to have an office on the fifth floor

Yesterday I was in the city to collect a replacement iPad, so while I was waiting, walked around Thorndon from a different direction. Here is Victoria’s Business School where I worked until 2012. They have added more office and teaching space in that addition to the left since I took my leave.

“Rush” hour at Ngauranga

Having collected the new iPad (that’s how Apple deal with defective batteries) I set out on the return home, and for the first time in a long while found myself entangled in the evening rush hour. Since my Apple repair people were in Thorndon, I followed the Hutt Road and rejoined SH2 at Ngauranga where everything ground to a halt. The moon was rising at about the same rate as the drivers’ blood pressure, but things cleared up and I got home to spend the next several hours restoring my iPad from the iCloud backup.

Kaitaki on her way to Picton

This morning was threatening dire weather and from Houghton Bay I saw the ferry Kaitaki on its way to Picton crossing the Wairau Valley where there was snow on what I think is Mt Richmond.

Inland and Seaward Kaikoura ranges with a good dusting of snow … as seen from Wellington

Is Winter here yet? The coating of snow on the Kaikoura Ranges would tend to support that idea. We are past the Winter Solstice and should be headed in the direction of longer warmer days, Spring and Summer, but I suspect we have t

Cook Strait Mana Island Maritime Paremata Plimmerton Weather

August 17, 2015 … persistence or stupidity

The single purposeful theme is still the goal.

The wetland and wildlife reserve at Pauatahanui

Pauatahanui was the chosen locality yesterday, but the weather was unkind and the birds uncooperative. I decided to try a shot that might express the overall character of the area, Across the salt water grasses are the ponds where so many of my favourite birds browse, On the left, the drab green structure is the bird hide.

Yacht race

I abandoned Pauatahanui and tried Plimmerton instead. Nothing much happening at first sight, but I liked those clouds behind the yachts.

Mana Island from Plimmerton

The yachts then drew my eye to Mana Island and again the clouds added to the scene, as did the striations in the rocks on the foreshore at Plimmerton.

Ivey Bay
Ivey Bay, near Paremata

From there I went home via the Paremata-Haywards Road (SH58). Gleaming reflections in Ivey Bay seemed interesting. As an exercise in single themed purposeful photography it was a failure, but that’s how the cookie crumbled yesterday.

More tomorrow.

Birds Pauatahanui Plimmerton Waves Weather Wellington

June 15, 2015 … feathers and waves

It was a lovely day yesterday, and a friend who is a superb bird photographer invited me to come and take kingfisher shots with her.

The peloton approaches Ration Point, while a young mother pushes her baby in the other direction along the excellent walkway.

Mary came for the ride, or more accurately, a walk along the edge of the inlet while we waited for kingfishers. At one stage there were six sitting in trees above or near us. A particular patch of water had been chosen for the light and colour it would offer as the birds dived for crabs. Sadly no-one shared the script with the birds, and though they preened themselves and looked down at us a lot, they seemed disinclined to get wet. While we waited and hoped, I snatched a shot of one of the many groups of cyclists doing their Sunday circuit of the inlet.

White-faced heron and the ripples

Having decided to go home via the Whitby side of the lake, I had to stop at the mouth of the Kakaho stream where I saw an extraordinary number  of white-faced herons fishing in the calm shallow waters East of the bridge. There were at least eight birds in close proximity, but the patterns on the water made me chose this shot of a single bird.

Terns at Plimmerton

A brief diversion to Plimmerton in search of the rare black-fronted tern was unsuccessful, though there was a small group of the more common white-fronted variety. As you can see the water is much calmer than the last set shot from here a few days ago. This is noteworthy because at the time this was taken, despite the bright sun and calm wind, there were six-metre waves pounding the South coast.

The waxeye thought it had the banana to itself. Seconds later there was a full-blown passerine scrum

At home in the afternoon, I decided to explore the WiFi capabilities of the Olympus, so I mounted the camera on a tripod and fired up the WiFi. I put some bananas and some bird seed in an old coconut shell in the hedge and lined the camera up appropriately through an open window. Having connected to the camera’s WiFi with my iPad, I went to another room and looked at the live view through the camera lens, taking pictures whenever I saw something interesting.

Who invited these guys? Word spreads quickly

It’s a lot of fun seeing nature unfold unaware of the electronic espionage nearby.

Something different again tomorrow.