On Wednesday I had to drive over from Nelson to Pelorus Bridge, to pick up some Swedish visitors at noon. I decided that there was a chance of some good images, so travelled over early, arriving at dawn! Conditions were not what I was expecting: a thick mist shrouded everything so there was no early light to work with. I did get some rather atmospheric shots, though. The Pelorus River is an “incised river”, having carved its way down through the rocks (and a favourite amongst trout fishermen).
The water was beautifully clear:
with some nice reflections to be found:
The Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve has several easy walking tracks with good opportunities to see local wildlife. In the past the area has had a problem with an invasion of wasps (an alien invader to NZ), which really like feeding on the honeydew found on beech trees. The honeydew is actually excreted from a small insect which bores into the tree and is an important source of food for insects and small birds. Efforts to reduce wasp populations appeared to be working, but there were still plenty to be found. Note the drop of honeydew on the tendril at the very top of this picture:
I was using a long (300 mm) telephoto lens for capturing wasp images, when suddenly I heard a bellbird quite close nearby, sounding a very loud warning call. I managed to get some fairly rushed shots off. I chose this one for this post, even thouigh it’s rather soft, because it really shows the bird shouting its alarm.
Then I heard a rustling in the fern undergrowth. A weka was about 3 metres away, in fairly thick cover. All I could see was a part of its back, so here’s a close-up of weka feathers:
When it finally emerged from cover onto the track, it was only about a metre from my feet, much too close for me to focus with that long lens. It then decided that I wasn’t someone to get too close to, so bolted. The bellbird followed on its trail, sounding its alarm call the whole time. It obviously wasn’t me the bellbird was worried about. Anyway, how’s this for a poor shot of a weka?
If I’d had the wide angle lens used for some of the earlier shots on the camera, I would have had some winning images! Bird photography is not all that easy.
I did get a shot showing that the local farmers have a sense of humour though. The sign below was obviously a response to the suggestion that gaseous emissions from cows were a contributor to NZ’s greenhouse gas problem. It obviously had not worked very well, because the honesty box had been removeed (or stolen). The spelling was not too flash either.