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.
Diving is a popular past time for the people brave enough to go into the icy waters.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was not to be.
Although there was this gale bending the Birch tree over very dramatically.
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)
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.
The Pohutukawas were still being shaped by the winds
and this gull was snuggled down in the tufty beach grass taking a well-earned rest from the battering forces.
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.
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.
It is official. Even the scientists confirm my suspicions. It has been a very windy spring and while we are used to that here in windy Wellington, many of the gales have been much stronger than the usual blustery conditions we live with.
Almost without fail there have been wind warnings forecasting gusts of up to 140kms per hour. Fortunately my particularly patch on earth has a degree of shelter from these northwesterlies. But we have sustained damage, most recently to an old television aerial.
You can see the trees in the tall tree part of our garden taking a buffeting. The fresh leaves of the birch trees are already looking bedraggled and bent in response to the prevailing bluster.
Those are the ones that have survived on the trees. So many have been stripped. In past springs they looked like this.
The rock roses have proved to be hardy and flourishing bushes but the relentless wind sees the crepey flowers brown and shrivel.
And then there are the birds who must be exhausted battling through the endless gusts and the strength of the wind. Look at these two blackbird fledglings sheltering in a sunny and calm part of the garden this afternoon, resting while the parents are off foraging.
As I went outdoors the parent bird flew near me and waited hopefully in the Magnolia tree.
I had nothing to offer him this time but I have been tossing scraps and crumbs out in greater quantities to help the birds survive.
Other parts of the country have been hard hit again today and we are hoping that the winds will abate tomorrow as predicted.
We had another storm hit our area yesterday with gusty winds reaching up to 140kms per hour. Normally we fare reasonably well in a North-westerly but a huge gust of wind just before 5pm last night caused an old television aerial to break loose from its metal plate which had been attached to the gable of the house. The noise of the aerial hitting the roof caused me to check around the property and finally locate the problem.
Our neighbour has a good view of our roof and was able to reassure me that the cabling for the aerial was still intact and the aerial appeared to be wedged around another smaller, modern aerial. I called the emergency services but they were too stretched with other priorities to come and ensure the aerial was not a threat to life or property.
However this morning the aerial had moved considerably and any cabling was no longer visible. While the wind has thankfully gone the rain is falling in a steady and heavy manner so no roof expeditions could be mounted safely.
A call to our local fire station saw this fire truck and four firemen arrive within 10 minutes of my phone call.
They were only too happy to remove the fallen aerial and ensure everything was secure high up on the roof.
It all seemed a very simple task with their correct clothing, footwear and equipment but what really impressed me was their attention to the drills and practices that they used and which they constantly ensure are second nature to their tasks and teamwork.
Three cheers for the Fire Brigade I say!!!! And the three year olds who live across the road loved watching it all and being waved to by the friendly fire crew.