Monday, 31 May 2010

cold fish breakfast

This was the brilliant sunrise I snapped at 7:20am this morning. It looks pretty fiery but trust me - it was damn cold! I'm not a morning person at the best of times.
At the yacht club at 7:40 am the cloud cover hadn't broken so it was still a little dark and the wind was freezing. This heron had just caught himself a substantial breakfast but a cold fish didn't tempt my tastebuds.

By the time the clouds broke up and the sun began to shine reliably my fingers had frozen and I was in serious need of a coffee. I had achieved a couple of decent photos despite the low light conditions and I was wide awake and ready to start painting. I photograph the herons so often I have decided I should actually paint them for a change. Thats my challenge this week.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Matata & Thornton Beach

After days of rain I was relieved to wake to a sunny morning. Determined to make the most of it I dragged Troy away from his computer and we went for a drive to Matata. The wetland restoration project is progressing well and there was a group of Canada Geese trying out the new section of lake. No doubt taking refuge from hunters.
Amongst them was this pair of Paradise Shelducks. The female has the white head.
It was a short drive to the Tarawera Rivermouth where I spotted a pair of NZ Dotterels on the beach. They were beginning to colour up as their winter plumage comes in - a lovely rusty orange coloured chest.

Unfortunately these birds are a threatened species which is due in no small part to the fact that they lay their eggs in shallow scrapes on sandy beaches. The eggs and chicks are easy pickings for predators or are lost during storms. Many nests are destroyed inadvertantly by people taking vehicles on the beach which makes this next photo all the more relevant.

After photographing Tuturiwhatu (dotterel) I talked Troy into taking me to a nearby conservation area called Awaiti wetland. It took some begging and bribery to persuade him but he folded when I promised not to hassle him for the rest of the weekend. We drove in along a muddy wet track...we have a 4 wheel drive vehicle so no problem A? Errrr not necessarily. In a particularly wet spot the back end of the stationwagon slewed off the track and into the swamp. BUGGER! I got out to push and the water came halfway up my shins. Again BUGGER! It didn't take long to work out we weren't going to drive out unaided. Troy set off to find a farmer with a tractor while I stood on the track and decided it would be prudent to leave my camera in the car for once! Guess who spent the afternoon washing the car?!!!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Mackerel in Tomato sauce

I am just getting over a persistent head cold - amazing how much snot one person can produce over 24 hours! I find it hard to adjust to autumn/winter some years. During the month of May my body wants to go into hibernation so I find it hard to be motivated - hence my lack of postings over the last month. And hard to celebrate our natural world when 795,000 litres of oil spews into the gulf of Mexico every day. I lived in Florida for 3 years so I'm familiar with many species that are being affected. Enough of all that altho strangely it ties in with my latest painting in a way.
While creating this painting I was thinking of the oceans resources and competition for the worlds fisheries, the health of the oceans in general due to pollution etc etc. Lots of things to think about really .... I guess the meaning of the painting is only obvious to me. Everyone else can come up with their own interpretation. Or it could just be a painting of a kingfisher sitting on a tin of Pam's Mackerel in Tomato Sauce. BTW anyone actually eat the stuff????

A sunny morning

After a few days of heavy rain I was relieved to have a sunny hour or two down the river Monday morning. There were lots of shags in the river. This group was taking time to dry out between fishing expeditions. A waxeye is on the lookout for insects for breakfast.
Funny little guy.

Despite the river being a muddy torrent full of logs and crap Moko the dolphin was still in residence. Apparently he had spent the night in the company of various boat owners who had come down to the river to check their boats were still secure on their moorings.

He had caught an eel and was playing with it like a dog with a stick.