Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Round trip to Ahuriri

Time for a wee holiday expedition today, (before a southerly arrives tomorrow with strong winds, rain and cold temperatures.) It was time to 'kill two birds with one stone': I wanted a few more photos of Ahuriri Estuary for the poster I have to make with data from our NZ fauna field trip; and I have never been on the Napier-Taupo Rd and felt my edumacation was therefore lacking.

So here is one viewpoint of the Ahuriri Estuary in Napier. The tide was lower than this when we did our sampling, a little to the right of this view. But we didn't see many birds: the arrival of 80 students + 10 tutors and lecturers was undoubtedly enough to send all sensible birds to more distant parts of the estuary.

This morning was a gorgeous morning, and I was able to watch this heron for a while.

I love coming upon waterfalls I have never heard about as I explore different parts of NZ. Today's treasure was next to the Napier-Taupo Rd, the Waipunga Falls. (This photo doesn't really convey quite how large they were.)

I enjoyed the Napier-Taupo Rd. There were some steep climbs (as I had expected) and some rugged country. Then as I neared Taupo, I was amazed to find some plains! Tauhara, which looks quite a small mountain viewed from Taupo, looks rather large when you see it from the angle you get approaching from the plains.

On the way home along the Desert Rd, I passed Ruapehu. The edges all looked more jagged without much snow covering. Some of you overseas may have seen reports of the lahar that went down from the crater lake at the top of this mountain just a few weeks ago.


  1. What a wonderful trip! I think your heron is a White-faced Heron (though probably a juvenile, the white face isn't very obvious). It looks a bit too tall to be Reef heron

  2. White-faced heron it must be! I always think of it as the 'gorgeous common grey heron'. I re-looked at my photos and there is one where the white face looks more obvious. Will put it on my photo blog in a few moments.
    You might be impressed to know that I have bought some small binoculars to better see some of these birds in my travels. Also I got Stuart Chambers "Birds of New Zealand - Locality Guide" on Trade Me the other day. I will be turning into a real bird watcher one day! (It is a great excuse for hopping off the bicycle!!!!!!!)

  3. Hmmm that url was way too long. Simpler to go to front page of photo blog at present.

  4. Hi Kiwi, yes I saw your pictures on your other blog! Definitely white-faced, obviously!

    Good luck with your new binoculars and bird book - keep us posted ;-)

  5. I just love your photography - you really have an eye for it.

    I live near a man-made lagoon in land which, had nature been allowed to follow her course, would actually all be floodlands or swampland. The city has done a good job of trying to preserve pockets of the true nature of the land, resulting in an ecosystem which continues to support natural wildlife.

    When I pass the lagoon in the spring and summer, I often observe the actions of the egrets and blue herons, and their interaction with the red-winged blackbirds. (Do you have the latter in NZ?).

  6. This lagoon is actually quite interesting as what you see 'now' is quite a recent creation: a lot of land in this area was lifted up in the major Napier earthquake of 1931.
    We don't have red-winged blackbirds, and in fact 'blackbirds' are an introduced species. Because of our isolation, we actually have a large number of endemic species of birds.

  7. That's some of the prettiest country I've ever seen.
    Just stunning.