Tag Archives: Plimmerton

Winter contrasts

Cabin fever was building yesterday so we rugged up and headed out for a brief walk. It was brutally cold in the wind but bracing and refreshing as our faces tingled and our ears chilled.

The stark, coldness of the day was mirrored in the bare branches of this very tall tree in the car parking area.
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But along the roadway and around a corner, in a more sheltered spot here was this tree glowing orange with such warmth.
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Then an early appointment this morning saw me visit Plimmerton where I spotted the sun shining brightly on Mana Island.
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However a slight turn southwards showed the real weather on the mainland.
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The winter season can present a range of guises to wonder at and enjoy.

Blue on blue

The aftermath of a biting cold southerly can leave the air crystal clear and the outline of our neighbouring South Island much more visible. Today was such a day and so we rugged up very warmly and spent some time back at Karehana Bay where the Shore Plovers were resting on the sandy strip behind the storm- piled seaweed. (There are approximately 200 of these birds left so seeing these 5 again became even more special today)

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Then we wandered along the sea front and sat on a seat and gazed at the sea and the views of the sky that was so strongly blue after so many grey days. The horizon seemed to be a meld of blues, the island in the distance yet more blue hues.
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And so with all our senses sharpened we returned to the warmth of the house refreshed before the promised icy chills of the evening.

Finally I have noticed these……

I must have walked past this sign endless numbers of times as I’ve walked along the beachfront at Karehana Bay.
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I may have commented on the sign and the endangered birds shown but it was not until I saw these stunning photos taken by Toya Heatley that I set off with some determination (and hope) to see these delightful birds for myself. (Thinornis novaeseelandiae) or native tuturuatu. Such a pretty Maori name.

After I had eaten my frog for the day (that is: done the tough chore of the day) I went for a quiet walk around Aotea Lagoon where I spotted these delights.
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I then journeyed the short distance to the Plimmerton Fire Station where these special birds can frequently be seen foraging on the rocky point that forms the southern boundary of Karehana Bay. Rumour has it that this small group of 5 Shore Plovers are to be captured by Dept of Conservation staff and rehomed in a safe environment where they will hopefully breed and boost flagging numbers.
A fairly boisterous wind was blowing, it was cold and the tide was very high with breakers rolling in to the beach. Bracing was the word.
Despite my searching I could not find the birds. Another woman arrived and we discovered that we were both seeking the Shore Plovers. She is a local resident and knew quite a bit about these small, colourful and uniquely marked birds. Their Friar Tuck “hair line” gives the impression of a halo. I imagined a bird about the size of a tern but my companion told me they are bigger than a sparrow, perhaps about the size of a starling.
We went around the back of the Fire Station and along where the Plovers are often seen but no joy. We went further along to another sandy strip of beach but nothing. It was feeling disheartening and we wondered if the birds had already been captured.
Another search near the Fire Station proved fruitless. The other woman had to leave and I decided to try once more along the beach before returning to my car. No joy. Something urged me to go back to the sheltered side of the Fire Station just one last time and perhaps speak to the woman who had been gathering seaweed for her garden to see if she had seen the birds.
As if by magic there were the Shore Plovers foraging in a group of 5.
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The woman gathering seaweed was delighted to spot them too and we watched enchanted as the small group moved along the sand or amongst the rocks and rock pools feeding.
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I followed the wee flock and took some photos of these shy birds. At one point one of the birds flew into the air singing a pretty squeaking little song as it wheeled about and rejoined the others.
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I was thrilled to have seen these special birds and to have some of my own photos of them. Sometimes we think we are paying attention and seeing all that is around us but this experience has reminded me that it is easy to overlook something very special.

Ironic

When the land you love shakes beneath your feet

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suddenly can shift because of a greater force, you wonder what is certain about your life anymore.

But the waves will still form and break
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and the tides come and go.
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The sea air is still tangy and refreshing. The sun warm and the sky blue on days like this one.
A wave surge hits the sea wall and exhilarates you with delight as salt water splashes your face.
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It is ironic that nature means earthquakes here in Aotearoa but it is nature that we return to for solace and restoration of spirit and hope.
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The theory and practice of summer

In theory we get summer weather here when large, slow moving high pressure weather systems move over the Tasman Sea and settle above our small homeland. This seasons such systems have been very rare.

The good news for us is that right now we have such a one and we are enjoying blue skies, sunshine, hot temperatures and balmy wee breezes. This weekend has seen people out in droves enjoying our beautiful beaches and outdoor areas, putting summer into practice.

Today we headed to Plimmerton and walked along the path by the sea. I sat and relaxed for a bit and took some photos.

This red-billed gull came over to see whether I had any food on offer and rather quickly dismissed me when all I could give him was my attention and the lens of a digital camera.

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It was very hot on the beach and someone had set up a make-shift area of shade using an old rain umbrella firmly attached to a long piece of driftwood.
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In a very surprising turn of events the umbrella did not move. Usually it is too windy for umbrellas at the beach!!!

In the hazy distance sat Mana Island and faintly in the background the outline of the South Island of New Zealand.

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And these people were really enjoying swimming and paddling in the water.

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Now it is time to eat our barbeque dinner outside. It is our third meal of the day to be eaten outdoors. Mmmmmm summertime.

On a cold and frosty morning

We had a heavy frost here this morning. However it also meant that the air was crisp and clear and the light was good for taking some photos at my favourite beach at Plimmerton.

Another frost is promised for tomorrow.