Saturday, February 19, 2011

Himatangi Beach

Some people turn up their noses at our Manawatu beaches, since they have grey sand, and lack 'pretty' bays. But I love the wildness you can have on the west coast, and here in the Manawatu, you can walk for kilometres along sandy beaches. And in fact, the Manawatu dune field is massive, on a world scale.

Today I left home early-ish to walk along Himatangi Beach before the sun got too high in the sky. But as it turned out, there was lingering coastal cloud that kept things cool until I had finished walking.

First, I wandered slowly down beside the stream, which had a lot of driftwood in it, and reflections of driftwood- that I had to stop and photograph. (I am always a sucker for reflections...)

If I had been rushing, I think I would have missed seeing this white-faced heron entirely: on the grey sand of the dunes it was well camouflaged.

And here for Maalie, is a black-backed gull, Larus dominicanus, which has a distinctive red spot on its bill.

And here the gull is flying away towards the dunes... They are planting more native spinifex on the dunes here now, which helps build a more stable dune, lower in height. Previously, a lot of marram grass was planted, but it isn't a New Zealand native, and it led to the building of very steep dunes that were not so stable, and were easily blown out by erosion.

Here are some seed heads from the dune building plants, that get rolled around on the sand in the wind, and thus become quite widely dispersed. 

Several fisherman were trying to catch some fish, but I spoke to this fisherman, and he wasn't having much luck in the conditions which were fairly calm.

By the time I was ready to leave, the coastal cloud was breaking up a bit, and I was able to take this photo of some cloud/sky reflections on the stream...


  1. Who knows why they would try to revegetate with a non native species.

  2. I think marram grass is much faster growing, and re-builds dunes more quickly. And I think that further inland it probably works quite well. But on the coast, it is subject to erosion.

  3. It looks like a perfect setting for relaxing walks. Very pretty.

  4. It was a very relaxing walk. Sometimes I walk harder and faster, but this time, I just dawdled...