Tag Archives: weather

A trip to the South Coast

A break in the weather meant a jaunt down to the South Coast of Wellington. It was a stunning day but any breeze that was blowing was still bitterly cold. Our climate can be harsh here so any day when the sky is clear blue, the wind low and the sun shining brightly is a day to get out and about.

It has been a long time since we visited this wild, wind-swept and often stormy stretch of coastline. When the southerlies pound in the sea is an extreme and dangerous force.

It is also near the entrance to the Wellington Harbour and around the road to the west is the runway for the airport.

Across the Wellington Heads the land is no less rugged or any more hospitable.

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The channel into the harbour has many jagged rocks and reefs so navigation is done very carefully, often with a locally based Pilot to steer foreign ships safely into the harbour.
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There are no safe swimming beaches but plenty of rocks to climb and explore.
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Diving is a popular past time for the people brave enough to go into the icy waters.

The sea here is a mix of Cook Strait (that divides the two main islands of New Zealand) and the Pacific Ocean.
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Sadly the high, snow-laden Kaikoura mountains at the northern part of the South Island were hazy but they help explain why the air is so very, very cold at the moment.
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After braving the rough, stony beach to take some photos, including this one of one of the regular Ferries that cross Cook Strait
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and of this aeroplane coming in to land at the airport, we headed to a popular café in nearby Lyall Bay to enjoy a hot drink.
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From the footpath near the café the view goes back to the airport and beyond that the beach we had just stopped at to take the photos.
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In contrast this is a sandy beach and people surf and swim here although the water is never particularly warm.

Bracing and beautiful summed up the experience.

The tail of a tropical storm and the Tuis

Earlier in the week with the weather looking more summery I noticed that the Tuis were not visiting the feeders nearly as often. The flaxes are flowering and many other natural food sources are offering them good nourishment.

Flax flower

Flax flower


However the tail end of a tropical storm reached us last evening with humidity and now rain. Quite heavy rain at times and the Tuis are back and in numbers.

It is not as easy to look glamorous and well groomed today.
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Winter light

Grey clouds, low light, icy rain and freezing winds this week have seen us indoors so much of the time. It is easy to gaze wistfully out a window hoping for a clearance in such weather. No such clearance has been forth-coming but yesterday the sun did break through at times and just after mid- afternoon offered me this image of winter light, soft greens and a warmth that was definitely lacking in the air. Winter sunlight can surprise us at times as it shines into corners mostly shaded and dark.
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Twins in the tree tops while the tempest blows

After further observation since Friday I could see that the two Tui fledglings were spending a lot of time in the Mahoe tree in our garden. I had seen the parent/s return to feed their young and when the gales subsided there were times when I could hear the now familiar squeaking calls.

No matter how much I tried the little point and shoot camera, with its limited zoom lens, was not going to capture these two young birds at such a special time in their lives.

I have no idea how long the “twins” will remain dependent on the parent birds so I figured a call to action was needed today.

The weather is foul with driving drizzle swirling on the back of a very gusty southerly wind. The fledglings are wise and shelter within the Mahoe, sometimes together and sometimes a branch or two away from each other.
My son has a swish Canon camera with a stronger zoom lens and he was happy to pop over late this afternoon and brave the elements in an effort to take some photos for me. The light was awful due to the low cloud and drizzle and to make matters worse the sun was breaking through at the perfect angle to spoil shots. The incessant, gusting wind of up to 50kms at times meant trees thrashing about and the little birds being blown about very vigorously at times. And the birds were particularly active.

But here are some of the results.
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The parent bird returned at one point and the fledglings flew into a birch tree calling demandingly. Here they are hoping the parent will return to them with food while the storm buffets them with some ferocity.
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We decided to return inside and allow the family to regroup without our attentions.
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Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight….

So many evenings of late have seen bright sunsets amid the clouds. This one from a few nights ago had us hopeful of a fine day following.
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It was not to be.

This sunset from last night also held promise.
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Although there was this gale bending the Birch tree over very dramatically.
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The gale lashed the house relentlessly all night and today has been little better. We were also drenched in rain with roads closed due to flooding.

Today was our belated Christmas Day with one part of the family so we covered presents (which had been waiting some time)
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with plastic bags, loaded up food in a plastic clothes basket, donned our coats and off we went for lunch and a fun afternoon. A four year old and his two year old sister kept things lively and fun.

The weather had cleared by late this afternoon although the gales continue. We spotted some Royal Spoonbills in the Pauatahanui Inlet along with a large flock of Black Swans.

Can you spot the two vague white dots out in the water? They are the Spoonbills.
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We did get much closer to one but it sensed our presence and off it flew.

The Pohutukawas were still being shaped by the winds
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and this gull was snuggled down in the tufty beach grass taking a well-earned rest from the battering forces.
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No sunset tonight so little hope of better weather tomorrow it would seem……

A news item I read late this afternoon indicated exceptionally high temperatures in parts of Australia while the east coast of America is experiencing bitterly cold, snowy conditions. We are battened down safe and sound.

Keep safe wherever you are.

Oh sweet sunshine, stillness, silence and warmth

After relentless gales from the northwest we were blessed today with a cool, gentle southerly wind change. That brought us the astounding sound of silence from the noise of the winds, stillness to be outdoors and enjoy it, and warmth from the sunshine.

Jazz made the best of the conditions as he stretched to soak up the prevailing goodness.

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