Tag: Bird

Wainuiomata Coast

Wainuiomata Coast

Wainuiomata Coast, New Zealand – February 8, 2016

I must have gotten sidetracked.  I never posted these photographs from 2016…

A colleague at work recommended the Wainuiomata Beach for beachcombing.  Always interested in a new beach experience, Lorraine, Leslie, Hillary, and I drove about 30 minutes to the beach.  It was barren with few people.  From the beach, one could see Cook Strait and the lighthouse complex at Baring Head.

We were hoping to find some beautiful seashells and sea glass. We found neither. All we saw were rocks and driftwood. Regardless, it had its stark beauty.

As Hillary and I walked the beach, we did come across a man fishing.  I am not sure how successful he may have been.  It looked difficult to me, what with the wind blowing onto the shore and the wave action; I do not see how he could have gotten his bait out far enough to do any good.

On the drive to the beach, we had passed a sign for the Remutaka Forest Park. Leaving the beach, we decided to take a quick look at the park. I am glad we did. I was very picturesque. The only thing that was somewhat irritating was the constant sound made by the cicadas. They were noisy. While I had certainly heard them before, I had never seen one before this trip. They are an odd-looking insect.

Leslie had made lunch before we departed the house.  We found a picnic table in the park and had lunch.  After that, we took a brief stroll and then went back to the house.

View toward Baring Head with Cook Strait in the distance.
Three generations.
A fern beside the stream.
A type of pampas grass.
A stream in Remutaka Forest Park.
Rocks in a stream.
Detail of a stream in Remutaka Forest Park.
Cicada on the tree just above the two leaves.
Wainuiomata River near the coast.
A windblown stump.
Geese and black swans.
An old stump on the beach.
Wondering just how much longer I will be out taking photos.
Fishing from the coast.
The first portrait in New Zealand!
A large rock on the beach.
A small wave coming in on the rock.
Walking toward the beach.
A red-billed gull.
Miramar Peninsula

Miramar Peninsula

Miramar Peninsula, New Zealand – March 12, 2016

Going back through my older photographs, I noticed I had not shared a drive along one of our favorite places in Wellington; the Miramar Peninsula.  On this particular trip, I decided to stop and capture a photograph of the “Windy Wellington” sign.  The sign is on a hillside shortly before one can turn onto the seaside road that encircles the peninsula.

The Windy Wellington sign.

“Windy Welly” is a moniker that many may have heard, but just how windy is Welly? Is it windier than the “Windy City”; Chicago? From all sources I have checked, it appears that Wellington is, in fact, the windiest city. The table below makes a comparison, including several of the cities in which we have lived. These statistics are from Wind Finder. Try the site to check on other towns of personal interest.

City Average Annual Wind Speed
mph km/h
Wellington, New Zealand 17 27
Chicago, Illinois 12 19
Islamabad, Pakistan 12 19
Colorado Springs, Colorado 10 16
Dallas, Texas 10 16
Georgetown, Guyana 10 16
Grand Junction, Colorado 8 13
La Paz, Bolivia 7 11
Madrid, Spain 7 11


The average annual wind speed seems so insignificant. So, what is the record wind speed in the same locations? Now, these are some numbers! Bear in mind a category 1 hurricane begins at 74 mph or 119 km/h. Based on that, the record wind speed in Wellington equates to a category 2 hurricane! The records are from the almanac section found on My Forecast.

City Record Wind Speed
mph km/h
Wellington, New Zealand 101 163
Chicago, Illinois 76 122
Islamabad, Pakistan 47 76
Colorado Springs, Colorado 71 114
Dallas, Texas 91 146
Georgetown, Guyana 75 120
Grand Junction, Colorado 78 126
La Paz, Bolivia 70 113
Madrid, Spain 73 118

Luckily our day was not blustery in the least. It began as a bit overcast but cleared to a beautiful day.

The first community one passes through is Shelly Bay, a collection of World War II-era buildings. Some are in disrepair while others have found new life as a café or an art gallery. Other than taking photos, we did not stop on this trip. It has a lovely charm.

A pier at Shelly Bay that is no longer in use.
Shelly Bay piers. The Port of Wellington is in the far distance.
Looking across Shelly Bay.

Our next stop on this trip was Point Halswell and the lighthouse. Lighthouse seems a rather grandiose term. It is a small, automatic beacon. At the point there were several seagulls around, periodically diving into the water. As I got closer, I could see there was a fish carcass just under the surface near the shore. The seagulls plunged in grasped the body, and with the whip of their head, they tore off bits of flesh. It was fascinating to watch.

Preparing to dive into the water.
Grabbing a bite.
Looking for a chance to dive in.
The lighthouse at Point Halswell.
Several gulls watching the action.

Kau Bay was our primary destination that morning. After finding a place to park, we walked down to the beach with our folding chairs. We had never been to that beach before, but we were up for some beachcombing. We found a surprising amount of sea-glass on the pebbly beach. When we had our fill, we sat in the folding chairs and observed the world. We are so fortunate to be able to live in such a beautiful country.

A close view of the beach at Kau Bay.
Scuba divers at Kau Bay.
Scuba divers in Kau Bay. The Point Halswell lighthouse is visible in the background.
A Jetstar jet on final approach to the Wellington International Airport. The Point Halswell lighthouse is below the jet.

Our next stop was the beach at Scorching Bay. It is a lovely public beach. At the beach is a small café, the Scorch-O-Rama. Other than stopping once for some bottled water, we have never sampled the offerings. Before we depart, we need to try breakfast there just once. Some friends go frequently. They say it is terrific.

People enjoying the day at Scorching Bay. The Scorch-O-Rama restaurant is just to the right of the parked cars.
View across Scorching Bay. The nearly vertical line in the center of the photo is a funicular. That is how people get from the street to that particular home. These are quite common in the area.

We were not the only people out that day.  We saw joggers, bicyclists, people fishing, scuba divers, and surfers.  The peninsula seems to have something for everyone.

Fishing off the Karaka Bay pier while the Interislander ferry Kaiarahi passes.
Surfers in Breaker Bay.

When we stopped at Moa Point, we were very near the south end of the runway at the Wellington International Airport. I heard a jet taxiing. When I looked up, I saw a jumbo jet from the Islamic Republic of Iran. The plane was a huge Airbus A340, no wonder it looked so big.

A dignitary from the Islamic Republic of Iran was departing the airport while we were watching from Moa Point.

Other than the occasional aircraft distraction, we busied ourselves with beachcombing. At Moa Point, we are always assured of finding paua shells. The shells we found range in size from about one-inch to nearly eight inches. Neither of us knows what we are going to do with these when we leave. Regardless, it sure is fun to collect them!

The Wellington skyline.
A jellyfish washed up on the beach.
A phone booth that seems to have seen better days…
View across Karaka Bay.
A seagull among the Mytilidae, a small saltwater mussel.
The Interislander ferry Kaiarahi passing a water taxi.
A small red stone on the beach. It turned out to be a small piece of brick.
Fishing from the pier at Karaka Bay.
Karaka Bay Road.
Surfer riding a wave at Breaker Bay.
Pencarrow Head with the two lighthouses.
The Interislander ferry Aratere.
The Interislander ferry Aratere and some surfers in Breaker Bay.
Breaker Bay.
A regatta as seen from Karaka Bay.
View of sailboats from Karaka Bay.
These are Mytilidae, a small saltwater mussel at low tide.
A seagull near some of the Mytilidae, a small saltwater mussel.
These are Mytilidae, a small saltwater mussel.
A rusted eye-bolt in a rock near Scorching Bay.
A wave crashing on a rock with the South Island visible in the background.
These are lottiidae, a type of sea snail.
An old war-bird.
Closer view of a seagull on his perch. The mountains in the background are on the South Island.
A seagull on his perch.
A panoramic view of Lyall Bay from Moa Point. The end of the Wellington International Airport runway is at the right side where the stones are piled.
A wave crashing just offshore.
The Pencarrow lighthouses.
Pencarrow Head and the two lighthouses.
View from the rocky shore of Wahine Memorial Park looking toward the two Pencarrow Lighthouses.
View of the rocky shore at the Wahine Memorial Park.
A very colorful house at Moa Point.
24-Hours of Photography

24-Hours of Photography

Point Halswell, New Zealand – May 7, 2018

Over roughly the last 24 hours, I have made nearly 300 photographs.  Readers, please do not despair.  This entry does not contain that many!

Leslie and I intended to travel to Point Halswell on Miramar Peninsula to capture the sunset.  Once the sun was down, I wanted to photograph the lights of the City of Wellington across Wellington Harbour.  Unfortunately, when we arrived, the conditions did not lend themselves to either endeavor.  It was very windy.  The wind gusts were about 78 km/h (48 mph).  That meant there was a lot of haze in the area.

Even though Plan A was off, I moved to Plan B; taking advantage of the beautiful colors courtesy of the late afternoon sunlight. Part of Plan B included using my wireless shutter release remote. I had never used it before…as the photographic evidence attests! Before I made the first shot, I knew the shadow of my tripod was in the view. However, I thought my body might be far enough away so that my shadow was out of sight …wrong! My next brilliant idea was to use the two-second delay. Surely that would be enough time for me to run my shadow out of the frame…wrong! Apparently, it takes quite a while to relocate this mass. Oh well, it is all about learning, I guess.

Hmmm…does the wireless shutter release work? Why yes it does!!
…maybe I can outrun the wireless shutter release…NOT!!

Once I got my wings, so to speak, I noticed a flock of water birds.  The birds hovered on the wind above the water and then dove into the water.  There was a shoal of fish there that was on the birds’ menu.  It did not last long there.  That makes sense.  If I were in a shoal, I would continue moving along, trying to get away from those pesky birds.

Seagulls flying around the rocks.
Feeding on a shoal of fish.
Flying to the next feeding spot.

When the flock flew behind me, there was a male and female seagull that remained behind, perched on a rock.  I can only assume they had had their fill of fish.  They just stood there, watching everything else unfold.  After a while, another female stopped on an adjacent rock.

“This is our rock,” she yells!
A new neighbor looking for a spot on the rock.
The neighbor has landed.

Leslie and I turned around and drove back home.
The next morning, we were on the road at 04:00. We drove to the Owhiro Bay area to experiment with star photography. My results were not “stellar”…but it was enjoyable. There is a reasonably well-lit foreground in many of the shots because there was a half-moon directly overhead. It provided a lot of light.
While we were there, we saw several ships moving through the Cook Strait.  We also saw a lot of shooting stars.

Stars at Red Rocks. The lens was open for 152 seconds. The line of light on the horizon is actually a cargo ship passing by in Cook Strait.

Before we depart from New Zealand, I will find another opportunity to try night photography.

We waited at the beach for the sunrise. It was breezy and fresh which made it somewhat uncomfortable. After making a few more photographs, we piled into the car and headed to breakfast with warm coffee.

The sun lit up most of the point. The barely visible mountains at the left horizon are actually across Cook Strait on the South Island.
View from Point Halswell across to Eastbourne.
A flock of seagulls feeding at Point Halswell.
Four birds stayed behind.
View toward Eastbourne. The small Ward Island is also visible.
Rock textures.
Rock textures II.
A trio of gulls.
Watching the waves crash.
The Point Halswell lighthouse.
Matiu/Somes Island.
Stars at Red Rocks. The lens was open for 193 seconds.
Stars at Red Rocks. The lens was open for 132 seconds.
Stars at Red Rocks. The lens was open for 123 seconds.
Looking toward Red Rocks at the far point.
The sky turned a bit pink at sunrise.
Looking toward Red Rocks.
Saturday Stroll

Saturday Stroll

Muritai, New Zealand – April 14, 2018

Yesterday, Leslie and I decided to go for a walk. Instead of the same routine neighborhood walk, we decided to drive to the Pencarrow Head trail. It only takes about 15 minutes to drive there from our house.
It was a mostly sunny morning with a temperature of about 12 centigrade (54 Fahrenheit). It was a perfect day for a walk.

The seaside hills at Camp Bay.

There is a road that goes to Pencarrow Head and the lighthouses, but it is only accessible by authorized persons.  That meant “not us.”

The road/trail to the lighthouses is about 16 kilometers (10 miles) round trip.  The advertised walking time is four hours.  That is reduced to 1.5 hours if one rides a bike.  We did not ride.  We opted to walk, but we knew we would not even try to complete the entire trail.

There are some sweeping views of the seaside hills and the entry to Wellington Harbour one can see while walking primarily south from the car park. As we walked, one car and several bicyclists passed us. Several of the bicyclists had a surfboard under their arm. We never did see anyone surfing, but we did see people fishing.

At Camp Bay, we saw several teepee type structures made with driftwood. We have seen the structures at other beaches; however, we had never seen so many in one location. I do not know if they are just for fun or when they are built, maybe covered with a tarp and used as a shelter. The wind and the sun can be intense at times.

Some of the teepee-like structures on the beach at Camp Bay.

As we walked along, we had great views of Miramar Peninsula. Typically, we are on Miramar Peninsula looking across to Camp Bay. It was a nice change of pace.

We spotted a white creature in the woods, well up the side of a hill. At first, because of the color, we thought it was a sheep. It turned out to be a goat. There was a black goat just a little farther up the hill, but it was much more challenging to see.

White goat. Just above and in front is a black goat.

We both commented on how calm the water was. Now and then there were small waves striking the shore. Because of the angle of the waves and the shape of the coastline, the waves resembled a zipper. That mesmerized us for a while.

The shore was very rocky. Because of that, paua shells were everywhere. We must have been in New Zealand too long because we did not pick up any of the big paua shells. We did break down and pick up some of the tiny shells.

There were dozens of seagulls around, some perched on the rocks, and several spotted shags. All of the spotted shags were on the rocks. The stones were odd because of their texture. I had never seen formations like that before. I believe they are all sedimentary rocks, but they have some very unique textures. Some are pockmarked with dozens of small holes while others have raised, intersecting lines of stone. I am not sure of the cause, but they were interesting.

Rock pockets complete with rocks in some of the pockets.

On several occasions, Leslie remarked how nice it was to be outside, walking along the beach. The sounds are so relaxing and calming. That environment seems to be good for the soul. In places, one could smell the ocean, but it was never overwhelming.

After about an hour and fifteen minutes, we were back at the car.  From there, it was on to the rest of our Saturday!

The beach at Camp Bay. Across the entry channel to Wellington Harbour, one can see the housing on Miramar Peninsula.
Rock cliff on the seaside hills.
“Zipper” wave.
Rocky shore.
Rocky shore II.
Driftwood tree.
Seagulls on the shore. The Pencarrow lighthouses are well around the point in the distance.
Weathered football.
Line of gulls.
Female gull.
Seagull on the rock.
Several spotted shags and one seagull.
Rocky shore. In the distance, on the horizon, is Cooks Strait.
Unique rock forms.
Rock pockets. I am not sure what is responsible for the red hue.
Larger view of the rock.
More odd rock markings.
Seagull. Miramar Peninsula is across the channel.
Small wave action.