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.