This is the third post in my 2018 Christmas South Island Road Trip series with Steve Richards.
As I lay in my little tent, the cold slowly seeped through my summer weight sleeping bag and into my bones. The rain had stopped and the stars had come out and the promise of a fine morning meant a possible rematch with the Black-Fronted Terns.
But that was cold comfort for me at the time and man did I wish I had my winter sleeping bag with me.
It’s the 22nd of December for goodness sakes, it isn’t supposed to be this cold in summer.
Eventually, I drifted off to sleep and as what happens most nights, the morning arrived chasing away the darkness.
I crawled my way out of my tent to be welcomed by a pale blue sky.
Steve was all comfy in the wagon but it took little persuasion to get us back down the road to take on the birds. We were on a mission.
This is the second post in my 2018 Christmas South Island Road Trip series with Steve Richards.
This January and most of February has been spent much the same way as previous years, namely endlessly sorting and processing images from our Christmas trip.
My last post finished up with Steve and I in Blenheim preparing to travel through the 180,787 hectare Molesworth Station.
Steve and I had always been intrigued by the thought of doing the 207-kilometre trip through the Molesworth, from Blenheim to Hanmer Springs. We wanted to explore the scenery and take some landscape images.
Another year has flown past or at least some of it has flown past.
The winter months of this year saw me locked away in my man cave, hunched over a keyboard, processing some 2,000 + images and uploading them to my new image gallery.
This year has been a huge success for me photographically.
I got first class images, of a number of birds that I have wanted for more than a few years.
I want to thank all the people who have made my Facebook Group New Zealand bird image share so successful. We have a wonderful group of people and a membership of over 1500 people now and still growing strongly. But numbers mean nothing compared to the quality of the members that contribute, not only with their images but with their sense of humour and community spirit.
After trying to get out onto the Cook Straight twice earlier on in the year, I finally guessed the weather right this November.
Windy Wellington lives up to its name and I had previously booked trips in early winter that had to be cancelled due to high winds. However, I got the weather right this time and November the 17th was fine and it was a happy and excited group of 12 hopefuls that put their trust in captain Jonno and out into the choppy sea we went.
Every trip is different and on this trip saw heaps and heaps of taiko or Western Black Petrels along with the other usual suspects.
The main culprits were
- Salvin’s Mollymawk
- White-capped Mollymawk
- Black-browed Mollymawk
- Giant Northern Petrel
- Western Black Petrel
- Flesh-footed Shearwater
At times there were so many birds circling the boat it was impossible to single one out, without so many others photobombing my subject.
Too many birds in the frame is not really a reason for complaint but rather a challenge.
This trip sea was lumpy due to a stiff breeze. These are ideal conditions, as the breeze assists the birds to skim across the rises and troughs making for more dramatic images.