Not far from my home on the West Coast of the North Island, New Zealand, there is more wild coastline.
Views from above this coastline can be gained from Whitireia Park, a reserve area which some years ago was farmed.
Standing on the high cliffs in the park there is almost always a wind blowing across this exposed site. It is bracing and exhilarating.
This high vantage point offers great views of Mana Island, a wildlife sanctuary.
The rocks are rugged and treacherous here as the Tasman Sea washes into the Porirua harbour entrance.
People use this stretch of coast and this park for all manner of recreational pursuits, both in the sea and on the land.
My visit was to record more of the beautiful landscapes that are found in the area in which I am fortunate enough to live.
Here are some photos from time spent in nature last weekend and words of upliftment and encouragement.
All that you can see has its roots in the unseen.
Forms change; essence remains.
Every sight will vanish, however gorgeous.
Every word will fade, however sweet.
But be strong of heart!
Where they come from is everlasting.
And renewing. Rumi
When I went for a walk around the pond at the Forest and Bird reserve last weekend I could hear lots of Piwakawaka (NZ Fantail) calling in their happy, friendly, chirpy manner.
This little one flew down on to the path in front of me and proceeded to hop towards me.
As you can see in this final image the little bird was on the move. They are rarely still for more than a second.
What I cannot show you is this bird, barely an arm’s length from me, on a branch of Kawakawa. My camera batteries died at just the wrong moment. Our Fantails are busy, flitty and flighty birds and despite its friendliness and courage this one did not wait for me to replace the batteries with fresh ones.
“The earth laughs in flowers”
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Late roses in my garden today.
My camera has been quietly resting for the last few weeks but I have been out and about on a few days in March this year.
Here are my favourite photographs from March. I really like the contrasts between the brown bleached hills and the lush greens seen in the trees and leaves of other photos. Nature showing so much of its best around or near my home.
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.
As I was watching the Coot chicks at the lake yesterday this Black Shag flew in and stood on the wooden pontoon that is attached to the concrete of the lakeside path.
The wind was perfect for drying feathers because despite being water birds and looking very oily and waterproof these birds must dry their wings.
Shags are swift underwater swimmers, with a sharp hooked beak to help them catch fish, eels and small crustaceans. They are often seen sitting on a perch with their wings spread out, drying their feathers. This is because shags’ feathers are not waterproof. This makes it easier for them to dive and stay under water for an average of 20 to 30 seconds per dive (the observed record for kawau is 58 seconds). But it also means the birds quickly get waterlogged and cold. So after a bout of fishing, shags must spend a lot of time preening and drying to restore their feathers and warm up.
This handsome bird kept a very wary eye on me as I approached. The various turns and moves it made reminded me of a conductor in front of an orchestra or of a person relishing the first taste of summer warmth with outstretched arms.
But I also heard this nonsense poem that my Dad used to enjoy…..
The common cormorant or shag
Lays eggs inside a paper bag
The reason you will see no doubt
It is to keep the lightning out
But what these unobservant birds
Have never noticed is that herds
Of wandering bears may come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.
By Christopher Isherwood.
I had some time yesterday to visit the local lake again to see how the Australian Coot family was doing. We had a taste of summer yesterday with a warm, steady breeze blowing and lots of sunshine.
The Coot chicks have definitely grown and they were out on the more open side of the bull rushes with their ever attentive parents. Despite the choppy water the chicks swim very strongly and are beginning to look a little more like their parents.
The parent birds were keen to keep their young near the protection of the rushes so photographs were a bit trickier but I think you will see the growth that has occurred in 5 days.