White Fronted Terns

White fronted TernsOne of the main draw cards to Muriwai for tourists is the Gannet colony. Perhaps a little less known, or viewed are the smaller, but equally impressive Tern colony that rests a little lower down the cliff line on the south hills of the beach. Once owners of prime real-estate,  these ‘large swallows of the ocean’ were booted out of their areas by the gannets in the 1970’s when they started nesting on the mainland. When you see the size difference between the two, its no surprise they no occupy the smaller ledges of the cliffs. That being said, all bullying aside, both groups of birds appear to thrive on these rocky ledges.

Sleek and quick, Terns are terrible nest makers. Or perhaps its not so much that they are terrible, but more that they hardly even bother. Around the world, they lay eggs on very sparse nests or branches – some on nothing at all. With clutches of 1-3 eggs, they usually group together in mass. Interestingly, they are even found at Antarctica. Although coastal sea birds, their plumage is not waterproof, so they dont rest in the sea.

Sadly, both in NZ and around the world, several species of Tern are endangered. We (Humans) didn’t help, buy eating masses of their eggs, and as in New Zealand, introduced species like Magpies have added to falling numbers of our Black Fronted Terns.

To finish on a positive note the white ones at Muriwai seem to be doing well and in mass!


Muriwai South

Muriwai SouthI was speaking to someone the other day, mentioning mikehawkey.com and the (to date) daily photo post. They asked the simple question ‘how do you find something different to take a photo of each day?’. Prior to this site, I also completed a few Photo 365 projects, so I guess I have had some practice, but the plain answer is ‘easily at times, difficult at others’. There are days I dig into the archives, not always because I have not taken a shot that day, but sometimes because I have been uninspired. As with many of us, some days and weeks all roll into one, revolving around work and sleep. These last few weeks, aside from my Hamilton run, have felt a little like that of late.

Determined to break my creative lull, I managed to get out this morning and drive far from home, and into some nature, my relaxation release where I can unwind and take photos. I headed to Muriwai. If memory serves, the last time I went there I managed to get a few shots off just before a storm broke. Todays forecast was not much better, but aside from a short shower, the weather was cloudy, but acceptable.

Over the next few days I’ll share some of my shots, perhaps with a bit more information about this west coast beach/area.

Todays image ‘Muriwai South’ is from the southern most point of the beach, looking down the coastline.

Shot on the Sony Nex with cropping and sizing in Gimp.


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