Seven in Black and White

A different kind of photography assignment this time.

No people.  Just objects or views or animals.

I randomly picked seven that seemed intriguing.

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1) There was some car trouble en route with one of the cars, so we had to stop along the roadside to check things out.  While the mechanically inclined looked under the hood, I did some looking around and was immediately drawn to this line of a tall “wall” of trees in the Wairau Valley, South Island, New Zealand.

 

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2) I was enthralled with watching all the water fowl, hanging out at a huge pond, nearby an historic N.Z. building….geese and ducklings….and even a rooster, too!  It had rained for a while, and this goose was taking sips of water as she walked alongside this curb.

 

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3) There was a flock of seagulls around the picnic area at the Pancake Rocks in the South Island, New Zealand.  I followed a couple of them around with my camera in hand, always hoping for good close-ups and also in-mid-flight moments.

 

Seagull in N.Z. from DCIM, Nov. 2017

 

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4) One from the archives of my current drumkit.

 

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5) We’ve had some snow already in November, but it has melted away again each time.  On Dec. 1st, I happened to see this lake with a thin layer of ice as far as I could see – large chunks of this thin ice lying on the water’s surface – with ice shards accumulated at the shore.

 

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6) Also from the archives….from last winter.  I had gone out one night to capture images of icicles in the front yard, illuminated by the house light.

 

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7) My latest hand drum, an African djembe, newly strung with goatskin on top, and I especially like the carvings in the drum’s body.

 

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A Duckling’s Curiosity

Baby duckling near the Stone House, Nov. 15, 2017

 

With Mama Duck near,

Duckling is curious and

Comes to check me out.

 

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Such a cutie!!

This little duckling….foraging for food and sipping water in the puddles, along with its sibling and mama duck.

At one point it saw me with my camera and decided to come on over to say hi.

MADE MY DAY!! Hahaha! Wish I’d had something to feed it.

Ah well. I said hi.

There were some other water fowl in this nature reserve, which is a park area with a good-sized pond and being part of the grounds of an old historic building – called The Stone House – in this part of New Zealand.

 

 

 

The Weka – one of New Zealand’s flightless bird species

Weka at Tauranga Bay seal colony area, Nov. 11, 2017

 

Curious weka!

Busily foraging and

Unperturbed by me.

 

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The weka!

This pretty, brown mottled and modest bird.

Roaming freely….in this area of native flora and man-made walkways that leads visitors to the look-out points to observe the seals of this seal colony at Tauranga Bay.

I was looking at the information plaque regarding the penguins and other animals living in this ecosystem, when I suddenly realized that there was this friendly feathered friend walking about. Before it disappeared again into some brush. Saw it again later on the walk back to the car. It seems quite comfortable having people coming through.

My first time seeing one…..especially in its natural habitat! COOL!!  🙂

 

 

Waves at Tauranga Bay

 

Crashing waves in Tauranga Bay, Nov. 11th, 2017

 

Rhythmic sound of waves,

Continuously growing;

then crashing on shore.

 

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The mighty, foaming waves crashing in at Tauranga Bay!!

Such an awesome sight!! ^_^

And the roaring sound!!

I stood there….watching….feeling mesmerized by the beauty and majesty of the ocean in its endless dance.

 

 

 

An unfolding Circle

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Long green curled-up arm,

Rounded green fingers clasping

Little brown circles.

 

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This is the curled up tip of a large/giant fern, which is the approximate size of your fist.

I have been seeing many of these on my visit to New Zealand again, this being my first time to go in their spring time.

Every time I look at these “heads,” I am constantly amazed at the intricate detail of the fern leaves that will grow to their much larger size as the stem uncurls over time. They all look like wondrous works of art – with tiny nautilus shapes!

SO COOL!!

A friend asked me, as he was wondering, whether these unfurled fern heads are edible, similar to the MUCH smaller fiddleheads that are harvested in parts of Canada during our spring time and are considered a tasty dish.  My kiwi friend explained that yes indeed, these giant-sized fernheads can be steamed and eaten.

And here they are called pungers, which sounds like “pungas.”

 

A Happy Ending!

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Hello, Friends!

You may remember a couple of my posts in August about the monarch caterpillars that my mother was fostering.  I had stayed with my parents for a few days and eagerly took photos and observed right along with my parents on the gradual progress of each caterpillar.

In the meantime I had returned back to my home and so wasn’t present when each caterpillar transformed itself into a pupa, then chrysalis….and finally, coming forth from its temporary home as a newly fledged monarch butterfly.

However, my parents kept sending me updates and a couple of photos.  The above photo is one of theirs, and it shows the first of the three emerging from its chrysalis case, while the second one, on the left, is still inside.

My mother sent me this photo with the message, “It’s a girl!”  🙂

I’m pleased to let you know that each of the three in turn and in their own time successfully made their debut – safely until their wings were in fine form – then were moved into the backyard….and flitted away….as is their way, on their long migratory journey south.

And the other two butterflies ended up being a boy and another girl!  🙂

Note:  Here and also here are the earlier posts about the caterpillars that I mentioned above.

 

 

 

 

Summer Evening Paddling Trip

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A call of a loon;

Quiet splashing, rhythmic sounds,

Kayak glides along.

 

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Yesterday’s warm temperatures and sunshine beckoned.

So, following the family supper, some of us embarked on an evening’s paddle.  Well, as many as could fit into two canoes and a single-person kayak.  😀

We launched our craft onto Taylor Lake and eventually made it to the channel leading to adjacent Clayton Lake….and ultimately the village of Clayton where we finished just as it was getting dark.

It’s a lovely paddling excursion….usually taking about two hours.

There are quite a few cottages along the shores of Taylor Lake, with avid boaters and fishing enthusiasts sharing the water….and everyone respecting the speeds near other boaters.  By contrast, Clayton Lake is quieter.

We were lucky and were treated to multiple loon calls, the sighting of a loon family of three, and a pretty sunset.

Here are some more photos…

 

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A juvenile loon…

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Sunset on Taylor Lake

From the time the sun was just touching the top of the trees to my extracting my iPhone from the protective plastic box tucked inside my life vest and then going for a photo, as you can see the sun went into hiding – moved so fast! Anyway….still looks pretty over the water like that.

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Kayaking is a lot of fun!

(Good time to add in a selfie….)  😀

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On Clayton Lake

I took a photo of the view behind me with the pretty clouds and the pinks and purples…..getting darker fast.

 

 

 

 

 

Last night’s little visitors

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Lightly effortless,

Suspended in calm stillness,

Nocturnal visit.

 

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There were a few tiny cute visitors congregated outside the front door and along the window yesterday evening.

What a wonderful surprise greeting us!

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These three were gathered higher up at the entrance, while one frog remained independently alone near the bottom….also attached to the window glass.

 

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About 2 centimetres in length….and I enjoy marveling at their amazingly strong legs and their well-adapted tiny fingers and toes.

 

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Upside-down…..and

 

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…..right side up.

 

 

Three Days Later…

 

Look how it’s grown!

 

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My mother and I replaced older milkweed leaves with newer ones today and had a closer look at all THREE caterpillars.

The one in the top photo is the largest and measures at 3.5 centimetres this morning.

 

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For some perspective to show the leaf size and the caterpillar, I am standing a bit further back.

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This is the next largest one, at 2 centimetres long.

Totally engrossed in munching on its milkweed leaf…

 

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The second one…from a different angle…..

 

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In this last photo I wanted to show the second largest caterpillar as it’s eating, and you can see the third one below it….it’s quite small….only just 0.8 centimetres.

 

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Note:  If you missed the first post highlighting these caterpillars, have a look here.

 

 

 

 

 

A Future Monarch

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Starting out so small,

Eating its way through milkweed

To grow and transform.

 

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I’m visiting at my parents’ place, and my mother excitedly showed me her little “friends.” Each one in a separate glass loosely filled with a couple of freshly picked milkweed leaves.

Her two friends are still quite small and not easily seen.

My mother is once again fostering a couple of monarch caterpillars in comfy protectiveness with fresh milkweed leaves, until they grow into their full size and make their chrysalis for their metamorphosis stage.

This one of the two is the larger and is about the length of my index fingernail right now. About 1 cm.

See the cool eating pattern it has made in this milkweed leaf. 🙂

 

My mother is all excited at these two new ones, as she has successfully nurtured monarch caterpillars in previous years and set them free as butterflies.