30 December 2015

Whio, Pohangina headwaters

This is the female — the mother of the five chicks — cruising around with the family when I met them on Boxing Day. I'd love to be back up there now.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

29 December 2015

Whio family, Pohangina headwaters

On Boxing Day I walked down the Pohangina river from Leon Kinvig hut to Ngamoko hut. The river was gorgeously limpid but many crossings were swift and powerful; fortunately, the deepest (almost reaching my waist) were slower. One small gorge, however, requires either floating — something I wasn't prepared to do on my own — or a steep climb, traverse, and descent along an overgrown track.

I'd almost reached the riverbed at the end of this track when I heard a whistle and knew instantly this is what I'd been hoping for. The track at that point skirts a near-vertical drop, and, looking down, I could see the deep green pool where the river exits the gorge.

Swimming in the pool was a family of whio: the two adults and five chicks.

I photographed them from above then carried on down to the riverbed and continued photographing as they swam slowly into the gorge. They allowed me time for only a handful of photographs, but I'd be a true grinch to complain about having just a few minutes to enjoy the sight of these wonderful birds.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

24 December 2015

End-of-year kereru

It seems fitting that one of the final photographs of 2015 should not only be from the No. 1 Line track, where I seem to have spent an increasing amount of time, but of a bird — the older I get, the more I'm thrilled by time spent in the company of birds and other animals. This kereru startled me when it flew from its perch close to where I was ambling down the track yesterday, but it landed nearby and allowed me some photographs. Not much light under the canopy, but the compensation was the lovely background colour.

I'm off for a few days in the Ruahine. The weather's looking good, and I hope that when I return, I'll have more photographs to share — including some of birds. Merry Christmas, everyone :-)

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

20 December 2015

Hover fly on Wahlenbergia, No. 1 Line track

On the No. 1 Line track this afternoon I'd stopped to photograph a sun orchid but its flowers remained closed despite occasional periods of sun. Who'd have thought flowers can get grumpy? But a few tiny Wahlenbergia flowers remained resolutely open, and I'd noticed this hover fly (Melangyna novaezelandiae) making repeated visits to this flower, so I waited until I was rewarded with this photograph.

The official common name for M. novaezelandiae is 'Large hover fly'. 'Large', needless to say, is something of an overstatement (I guess it's just to distinguish it from the 'Small hover fly', Melanostoma fasciatum).

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

13 December 2015

Melia at dusk, Pohangina Valley

All around the valley the farmers have been making hay even when the sun hasn't been shining. The hill between my place and the southern Ruahine Range has an intriguing pattern, but this evening at dusk it was the bead tree that drew my eye. I've photographed this many times before but can't resist its allure. This time I decided to give the photograph a different kind of feel — something to reflect how I was feeling. Something, I hope, to make you pause.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

08 December 2015

December evening, Pohangina Valley

Sometimes at dusk the light takes on a peculiar subtlety that greatly appeals to me. A couple of evenings ago I stood at the edge of the terrace and looked up the valley and thought how lucky I am to live here. The light had almost gone (it was much darker than it looks here), but I photographed anyway, with the ISO dialled way up and the aperture wide.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

03 December 2015

View from the top seat, No. 1 Line track

Yesterday, after the rain had eased and before it threatened to set in again, I did a quick walk up the No. 1 Line track. I didn't stay long enough at the top seat to brew tea, but I did set up the tripod and experimented with some photographs.

Fine weather's, ... well, fine, I suppose, but weather like this offers more interesting opportunities for photographing. As usual, I felt hugely grateful to have such convenient access to a place like this.

The yellowish-orange plant is mountain horopito (Pseudowintera colorata), the bright green plant is haumakaroa (Raukaua simplex). Both are among the most common shrubs in this altitudinal zone.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor