Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Whitebait and Jellyfish.

This is a photo I feel I have to post, a mother mallard and duckling in the stream by the Whakatane Skatebowl. Its not a nice photo but it speaks volumes. The amount of rubbish is disgusting and I wonder if they still teach anti-litter campaigns in schools. Such a simple philosophy - to put your rubbish in the bin but obviously there are still plenty of people around who can't be bothered! OK my rant for the day is done.I haven't spent a lot of time along the river bank lately mainly because it has been invaded by a seasonal migrant - the whitebaiter! I tend to leave them to it during the season as they like to perch on my favourite shooting posts and scare away my subjects.
These are the little buggers they're after. Mmmm good in a fritter!

Yesterday was such a lovely morning I just had to check out my favourite spot despite the whitebaiters and I was surprised to find an eastern bar-tailed godwit feeding on the sand bar by the yachtclub. I know there are hundreds (possibly thousands but I can't count that fast) of these birds that visit the Ohiwa harbour every spring/summer but I have never seen one in the Whakatane river. And you hardly ever see just one.
The most amazing thing about these birds is that they migrate here from Eastern Siberia and Alaska!! Over 100,000 make the trip to NZ every year. They arrive pretty buggered obviously, fatten themselves up on marine critters they probe from out of the mud then fly all the way back to breed. Go figure!

Another critter to invade the river of late is the jellyfish. I guess due to some very high tides we've been having they have cruised up the river like wobbly flying saucers dragging long tentacles behind them. They are still alive too, I have watched their slow but steady jet propulsion systems at work. I witnessed a swarm of them hanging out by the skate bowl floodgates. A duck was paddling its way towards one of them and when it spotted the jellyfish it did a sudden detour to get the hell out of its way so that I wondered if it had previous experience with its stingers.

I was left in no doubt as to the fact that birds are stung by them as I later saw a heron feeding in the shallows suddenly take flight and flapping in mid-air was violently shaking one leg. It landed on a nearby sandbar and inspected its foot as if thinking "What the HELL was THAT?!!! He flew off up the river to safer feeding grounds.

No comments: