On a grim morning with dark rain out at sea and moving closer, we wandered the beach near the mouth of the stream. Anne-Marie did some yoga; I prowled for pictures. This tarapunga (red-billed gull) stood preening on a rock at the water’s edge, safe from the surging surf that raced and foamed upstream. Gulls appear in photos most often in their clean, sleeked-down state; this time I concentrated on catching a different look. (The shutter speed was 1/250 s).
Signs of life and death, some recent, some long gone, littered the shore at the Cove of Giants (you’ll be able to read about my visit there when I finish and publish the post ; in the meantime, if you’re interested, you can read some other impressions of our Time at Flounder Bay).
"Further out, the boulders and weed appear momentarily then vanish as the swell surges over; when they reappear, water pours off them in long, shining streams like a different kind of weed: unbranched, ephemeral, constantly changing." —from the just-published post Time at Flounder Bay, on Pohanginapete
At the Cove of Giants, someone, probably not recently, had built a fire against one of the big rocks embedded in the sand. All that remained was a barely discernible blackened, scorched patch on the rock; the ashes and charcoal had long gone, long been claimed by the sea (perhaps on the very next high tide). I found it both eerie and comforting — that signs of human presence could so easily be erased.
Most mornings when we walked the track to the beach at Flounder Bay we'd meet these delightful little birds. Pihoihoi (New Zealand pipits; Anthus novaeseelandiae novaeseelandiae) seem relatively unafraid of humans; in fact, on one occasion we stood still as one made its way with that characteristic, tail-wagging walk, almost to our feet.
The mouth of the stream at Flounder Bay changes continuously. Sometimes it's too deep to cross comfortably; sometimes, as in this photo, you can cross in ankle deep but still swift water.That's a limpet clinging to the rock — an indication the sea's only a few metres away.
Just a couple of the old tractors and similar machinery that make Flounder Bay such a fascinating place.
The horses get ridden; they’re not just for looking pretty. Maybe one day, when all tractors (and cars) will be as functional as these, we’ll be thankful we still have horses.
We knew them as Jacob's Ladders when we were kids but that usage seems rare now. They're one of the forms of crepuscular rays, which have many vernacular names: I've most often found them called "God beams". I still prefer "Jacob's Ladders" but admit a fondness for the word "crepuscular".
We saw these at dawn at Flounder Bay last week; this is a cropped telephoto shot. I’d have loved a gannet to have cruised past as I pressed the shutter, but they were too far away to be recognisable as birds. [No—please don’t suggest adding one in Photoshop. :^) ]
About two thirds of the way from Flounder Bay to Driftwood Cove, the track above the rocky coast passes a point with a flat area about the size of a small room, where one can look out over Hawke Bay. When the weather's clear, the view extends from the Mahia Peninsula in the north-east to Cape Kidnappers in the south. But it's the view directly east that so often entrances me.