Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sand storm

This is what happens when the wind gets up on a white sand beach. I could hardly make out this little family as the sand swirled by. They all seemed to have their eyes half closed coping with the sand and I did too as I pressed the camera shutter.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wading at Whatipu

Well not exactly. Just a little paddling in the ponds below the cliffs behind the sand dunes with the Auckland Botanical Society (Bot Soc).  I was reminded of my camp there in this wild beautiful spot with a friend earlier in the year.

We had heard and seen in the light of our head torches above our tents after dusk,Grey Faced Petrels crashing into the pohutakawa trees on the cliff face. The sunset from this 'perched on the side of the cliff' camp site was memorable and so was the soup of flying bugs that joined us for dinner that evening.

Bot Soc met at the car park then headed up the beach in pursuit of interesting species. The humour was good, the weather too and this helped ease the way over the soft black sands of the dynamic Whatipu beach landscape.

 I really love this area because of the sheer scale of it and it always reminds me that we are pretty insignificant where nature is concerned in the scheme of things.

Everyone enjoyed botanising and Ewen Cameron our leader was keen to get us to the far end of the beach, the Karekare end to find the diminutive and very rare Eleocharis neozelandica.

My thanks to Neil Davies for the shot of me actually looking as though I am working hard at my photography.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

White Sands

Today was a special day for me being the anniversary of taking a greater interest in Shore birds and to celebrate I decided to return to the white sands between Pakiri and Mangawhai. I spent the late morning photographing and watching oystercatcher and dotterel in the sandunes and a Caspian tern and gannet hunting for fish along the river.

 In the afternoon I was able to wade across the river as the tide receded and shared a scope to watch Fairy terns and Caspian terns forming nests on the exposed beach.

Leaving at dusk I returned South with a stunning glowing sunset in the West that followed me all the way home. It was the perfect ending for this significant day for me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Morepork & an unusual nest

Last night I woke at 3am as I often do thinking of recent events but was pleased for the distraction of hearing a morepork calling way in the distance. It was probably in Northboro reserve near the mangroves.  I was just drifting back to sleep about half an hour later when the call, much louder this time, woke me as the bird had moved to somewhere in our front garden. It called for six times and I thought I would get up and try and see it but then it went silent and I listened carefully. It started up again but this time in  another direction and some way away. I am always hoping to see one up close one day in the garden.

Yesterday afternoon it was the last day of the Sculpture on the Shore show. Full of interesting art work and held at Takapuna fort reserve its a great show to raise money for Womens Refuge. This particular work by John Ferguson entitled 'The Future Laid in the Past' caught my eye and I wondered if the morepork would approve of such a nest.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


It was almost a year ago to the week that I was inspired by a keen volunteer at the Shorebird Centre to take an interest and look closer at these wonderful shore birds.

Yesterday I headed to Pakiri in search of the seriously endangered fairy tern and was distracted by dotterel chicks, well who wouldn't be?

However one chick had not survived and I photographed the adult bird carrying its dead offspring. A rather sad sight. The other chicks  looked well and active following the parent birds across the sands.

 Meeting a very dedicated DoC person who after comparing notes allowed me to use her scope which she had trained on a pair of possibly nesting fairy terns. This  helped me focus  on the fragility of the survival of this species. There are only 40 fairy terns left. The fairy terns were too far away to successfully photograph on this day.

 It's always motivating for me to meet people who show such passion for their interests. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and good luck for success with this nesting season. I look forward to returning and hopefully to see fairy tern chicks soon.