Summer has hit here with a capital “S”! Temperatures have been high and being out in the blazing sun for too long is not advisable. Sun hats, sun block, covering up, seeking shade and plenty of fluid is the order of the day.
The sky has been a deep, clear blue for days on end without a cloud in sight.
Yesterday an errand took me near this vantage point and I thought I would share some photos of the Porirua Harbour and views over Porirua.
Mana marina, Porirua
The entrance to Porirua Harbour and the Pauatahanui Inlet. Mana Marina to the right of the photo.
The flat top of Mana Island on the horizon, beyond Whitireia Park and Onepoto, Porirua
The view across Onepoto to the hills of the South Island looking blue in the heat haze.
Across Porirua Harbour to Elsdon and Takapuwahia, Porirua
A section of Porirua City
The steep, parched hills beyond Porirua city. The highest point is known as Colonial Knob. It is a muscle stretching climb to that point.
A local resident was using his vantage point to fly the Union Jack.
And finally this Black Backed Gull decided to use this vantage point near me!
On a fresh water pond in Pauatahanui Forest and Bird Reserve I found these ducks.
Perhaps Huey, Dewey and Louie?
More likely to be some of this season’s ducklings which have survived, just enjoying the pond.
Disappearing into the reeds.
Heading towards the shore through the pink and green weed that is covering the surface in summer time.
The first visit to spot the Pied Stilts at Pauatahanui Forest and Bird Reserve and their new chicks was reasonably successful. It was evening and there was some water in the pond near the hide.
Pied Stilt parents are not silly. They nest well away from the road, paths and the hide. They are fierce in protecting their young off-spring and I discovered they have some unique methods of sheltering them at times.
Not only do they nest in remote and secluded spots but they wade and feed as far from human contact as they can go. Certainly the parent and the chick in the photos below were out of range of the zoom on my camera.
So the photos are fuzzy but I hope you will get a sense of the fluffy, well camouflaged but long-legged chick and wonder at four legged bird photos!
Popping under Mum or Dad’s wing.
Back to exploring…
Seeking shelter again.
It pays to sit quietly in the hide and allow your eyes to scan around the area. After some time we noticed a slight movement on an island in the pond and it did eventually become apparent to us that another Pied Stilt was sitting on eggs there. It was only confirmed when the other parent came to take over incubation duties.
My last trip was fruitless in terms of the Pied Stilts.
Adult Pied Stilt
The family was feeding in the water in a part of the pond that was inaccessible. It was only the swooping parent bird who was trying to drive us away that alerted us to their location.
We sat in the hide and patiently waited but the tidal flow was all wrong for any photos of the birds but I liked the colours that were showing in this salty water, marshy, tidal pond.
It is such a harsh looking environment but this reserve of extensive wetlands is critical to so much of our natural environment in New Zealand.
No, I haven’t been away on a holiday trip, although my absence from this blog might indicate that I had. I have been busy decluttering and tidying and cleaning amongst other “around the house” chores.
It is the Tuis who appear to have returned from a holiday trip to who knows where?
This photo taken on 18th December 2014 shows evidence of the last really heavy rainfall we have received and certainly left the birds looking very bedraggled.
The weather was better the next day and the Tuis gone. The heat evaporated any sugar water that was left in the feeder dishes and apart from hearing the calls of the Tui off in the distance at dawn and last light there was no evidence of the crowds that had been visiting the feeders since September.
However a month to the date, almost, the Tuis have returned.
Initially just one or two and they did not herald their arrival, choosing to drink very quietly. But in the past two days numbers have increased and our songsters are back. It had been very quiet and strange without them. Many are nervous visitors so it will take time for them to become accustomed to our presence.
Many of the new year Tuis are juveniles and almost all the birds are looking less glossy and colourful.
The light yesterday was bright and glaring when I had some moments to try out my new Monopod (a welcome Christmas gift which allows more zoom capacity without camera shake). This last photo is of a younger bird I would suspect.
As I type this post two adult Tui have been debating the use of the feeders and singing to, or perhaps, at each other with some wing flapping happening, so normal transmission has resumed.