I like fishing, a lazy afternoon spent sitting on rocks or a wharf (preferably in the sunshine) quietly watching the birds and hearing the waves slap againts the rocks edge or wharf’s pilings. What’s not to love?

I don’t know about you but I don’t go fishing to catch fish! It’s the culture of fishing that I love. The freedom, the quiet contemplation. I have many happy memories of fishing with my Dad from boats and off wharfs. As a kid though I was nicely protected from the reality of gutting our catch and other such gory things!

I am fairly sure this sunbathing seal wouldn’t mind having a few fish for his or her lunch though! I was really pleased to have captured this moment, almost as pleased as I was with my bird nest ‘find.’ We are lucky to have such diversity on our ‘doorstep’ and I hope it stays that way for many more generations to come!

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About half way around “the mount” we decided to stop for a drink and snack. I was focused on taking photos of the beautiful seascape in front of me when I noticed a deep throaty call coming from the trees behind me. I looked up and to my total delight this is what I saw…

Lunch was quickly forgotten! I would have been thrilled with just seeing the birds, but birds in nests?? OMG!! Christmas came early!

These were taken on full zoom so no chance of getting any shots more detailed until I get my new camera . The birds also had the advantage here as I was trying to photograph up into the light, none the  less I was a very happy bird fan just been able to SEE them. Photographs are a bonus! Here’s a shot of some of the shags that I saw drying off on the rocks…

I can’t wait to go back again and get more photos!

Another piece of news that I am very pleased to be able to share is that I now have photos for sale on NZ Photo Sales, a photo stock library based in NZ.

I am going to upgrade to “Gold Status” which will give me my own address and remove the ads, but here’s the set up I have the moment…http://www.photosales.co.nz/view_photog.php?photogid=675

You will no doubt recognise a few of them! I am waiting for my broadband connection to be set up (Tuesday??) so that I can upload more more photos to the site (it’s taken me about 8 hours to get the 12 I have there uploaded!.) Please let me know what you think!

We snuck in a walk around the Mount before todays storm set in. As I type it is hailing!

Mount Maunganui or ‘the Mount’ as it is more commonly called is not very far from where I live, about 22km. The Mountain that presides over the township gives the whole area it’s name. “Mauao” is another name given to the Mount just to add to the confusion. I have been to the Mount, as in the settlement of Mount Maunganuimany times but to the mountain itself only a few times. Yesterday I walked around it for the first time ever. I have never had a very high regard for ‘the mount’ viewing it as an over marketed tourist attraction that isn’t much of a Mountain anyway! Mt Maunganui is not exactly aMt Taranaki or a Mt Ruapehu but yesterday  I saw the Mount with new eyes. I bonded with it so to speak!! The mount is not impressive in the same sense as Mt Taranaki is and it dosn’t even nearly get snow  like Ruapehu but I do appreciate it now for the role it plays ecologically. I saw many birds, including a colony of Black Oystercatchers and a nesting site for Shags. You can imagine my extreme delight at this later discovery but more on this soon! The mount provides food and shelter for these sea birds and many more other species and it also hosts the occasional seal. I have to say that I totally underestimated and under-appreciated this wonderful gem.

I am not sure what startled these birds but I became aware of there presence through the noise they were making! They took off , circled and came back to where they started so I am guessing the danger or the excitement was only temporary!

I recently scored a great book callled “The new guide to the birds of New Zealand” at a 2nd hand shop recently. Published in 1981 it is not exactly a ‘New guide’ how ever I am very pleased and with the help of the book I was able to identify these birds as being ‘Black Oyestercatchers’ and I learnt that they breed December to Janurary so I will be going back to take more pics then!

I wish I could tell you that my son is also an avid bird watcher but really, he was more interested in all of that bird poop!!  Here’s a link if anyone is interested in learning more about this bird.  The story below about the legend on Mauao is courtesy if AA travel.

The story of Mauao, his tracks and beaches.

Mauao (or Mt Maunganui), situated on Tauranga Harbour’s eastern entrance, was once a nameless hill.

According to Maori legend, this hill was a pononga [slave] to a mountain called Otanewainuku. The pononga was in love with a hill called Puwhena, but she had already fallen for his captor.

In despair, the nameless hill decided to drown himself and he called upon the fairy people [Patupaiarehe] to assist with his endeavour. The fairy people began dragging him toward the sea, however, these nocturnal imps lost track of time, and as they neared the ocean, the rising sun signalled their disappearance.

The nameless one was left in the very place where he still stands, and became known as Mauao, which means “caught by the dawn.”

Today, he still faces day’s first light; as do many who walk his 3.4-km base, which passes by remote beaches and rocky cliffs. Sea lions and whales are often seen in this area and it remains a fantastic standpoint to watch ships head in and out of the Port of Tauranga.

It takes around 30-minutes (for the relatively fit) to reach Mauao’s summit; a hike that bestows 360 degree views over nearby islands and the wider Bay of Plenty region.

This location has long been a favourite holiday destination for kiwis, in particular Main Beach. A beautiful white sandy beach, it’s the base for a host of activities such as surfing, beach volleyball and thundercat racing. You haven’t been to “The Mount” without enjoying the beach on a busy summer’s day.

Maketu beach is not far from Te Puke and still in the Bay of Plenty. About a 45 minute trip from here although quicker on the bike!

The red roof that you can see in the background if you have good eyes is actually a Marae (Maori meeting house and a very importnant part of Maori culture.) You can see a big Norfollk Pine too. This species of tree was introduced to NZ by the early Brittish settlers and were quite often planted on the coast line and used as navigational aides. I’m not sure if this particular tree has historical significances but you can see why they were used! 

      

I was quite suprised to find this Baracuda washed up on the beach. I would say it hadn’t been there long because 1) it was still there and the birds hadn’t made a meal of it! and 2) because it didn’t smell! I even picked it up for a closer look as I had never seen one before. No I didn’t bring it home! I did bring some shells home though. I was suprised at how many intact shells were on the beach given how many rocks there are.

There were hundreds of these curly shells on the beach. I found this lovely ‘still life’ just like this. The big shell is a horse mussel. I don’t usualy see them intact either as the shell is suprisingly thin. I have baskets of these twirly shells (don’t know there name though!) so didn’t bring any home. Actually I didn’t bring any home because I didn’t know I was going to the beach today. The joys of riding pillion, my husband knows where we are going and I just hang on! lol. When we pulled up the first thing I said was “You could have told me I’d need a bag!” lol. I did find some very big shells (hermit crab?) which I managed to stuff (litteraly) into the pockets of my leather jacket and down the front. When I got home I found out one of them still had it’s occupant. Oh gross. So now I have to figure out what to do with a dead crab thats still inside the shell without breaking the shell. I can’t believe I have a big crab in my pocket! My DH was quite amused I must say! I will post a photo of the shells soon. Preferably minus crab.

OPPS! He did it again….

Yes he did! Can you believe that another recycling truck (not the same one but from the same company) crashed on the very same road as it did last time? Almost unbelievable! There was a car behind that trailer too and people working on that house. I didn’t see the crash this time but I commented on how fast the truck was going just seconds before I heard the huge bang. I grabbed my camera and ran straight out. (Last time I called 111 first…) There was someone on the back of the truck this time too. The poor guy who jumps off and grabs the bins was thrown from the trailer and suffered a head injury. He was walking around afterwards  holding his head and ended up jumping in the car that was only just missed to go to the hospital. I havn’t heard how he is but the road has huge gouges in it and this time a lot of official people turned up to survey the scene. There was nothing wrong with the road before the crash…this is a classic case of someone going to fast. Thankfully I didn’t cost any one their life (or house or car!)

Well, back to reality now. I’ve cooked 2 batches of choc chip coookies and made a weetbix slice while waiting for my photos to load so this post has taken me about an hour to write! lol. Time to cook tea:)

 

 

 I’m a very happy bird lover these days! Yesterday the seagulls and seahawks posed for my camera and today the ducks and pukeko’s allowed me to take photo’s. This morning while I had my morning cuppa I counted 17 sparrows and finches perched on my fence (all in a row…I’m trying to refrain from using the word cute here…but  they really were!) and as I write this there’s Myna birds are on my lawn defending a piece of apple from the sparrows (who were already well feed on left over home made sultana bread and toast this morning!)

I didn’t take my camera out for my morning coffee and I knew moving to get it would result in the birds dissapearing again but I was prepared at yesterdays beach and park trip and todays picnic at the pond. I have been feeding the pond birds regularly and I am sure they are recognising me and the kids now. They were a lot less shy today than they have been in the past. I wanted and large avery for a while there, part of me still does but in reality I will be happy if the local birds pay me regular visits. I also believe it’s important to encourage and support the local bird community and with three kids there’s never a shortage of crusts!

I personally think this fountain is rather ugly…but as you can see from the photo above the birds enjoy a dip!

The gulls at memorial park are so well fed by visitors they have become quite tame.

It’s hard to believe that the 2 sides of the bridge can look so different given a different vantage point ( I was standing on the bridge for the top photo) and a different cloud pattern which affected the light levels and reflection on the water.

Seconds after taking the top photo I heard a familiar sounding rumble…..TRAIN COMING! I was stoked although I wasn’t stupid enough to get any closer than this (at 3x zoom.)  I was further away than it looks b and there was quite a bit of room between the footpath and train tracks. It really did rumble and shake the bridge. Good thing I am not afraid of heights that move!

Here’s some more shots taken from the Matapahi Bridge. I loved the strong bold lines and the way they provided little windows of the world. My favorite image is the bottom right photo that shows the underside of the bridge.  The glass like water contrasts beautifullly with the strong pillars and steel structures. Man and nature meeting it seems without either damaging the other.

 

To see these photos at full size (albeit low resolution) just click the image:)