Whew! I’ve had a ton of adventures in 2015. Honestly, I could not have asked for better experiences. And I’ve had a lot of opportunities to grow in a lot of different areas, including photography! But one thing that’s always eluded me is wildlife photography. So in order to improve, I came to the wonderful Waiatarua Reserve to try and photograph some birds.
(It’s called Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time. Don’t make the same rookie mistake that this sign does. *Sigh*)
The reserve is a beautiful park situated in Remuera, a suburb to the Southeast of the city. You wouldn’t realize it to look at some of these photos, but there’s neighborhoods and houses right next door.
I know I said I came here to photograph some wildlife, but can you blame me for getting distracted by the scenery? Waiatarua has a very park-like feel to it when you drive up, but you can walk for almost an hour (or more if you spend a lot of time stalking birds!) on its many well-paved trails.
Accordingly, the first part of this post will be scenery pictures and the second part will be bird pictures.
As expected of a wetlands reserve, there is plenty of water.
A nice picnic area!
Bits of the trail actually go into the woods a bit. I really like this photo :)
I found what seems to be a crude shelter here. My wilderness survival instructor at Boy Scout camp would have barely given this a passing grade, but in the Auckland summer not much more is necessary.
(I believe “Freedom camping”, or camping wherever you please on public land, is generally illegal in New Zealand, and you can get fined anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to ten thousand dollars if you’re caught. Building fires is similarly illegal. This is unfortunate, but it’s intended to preserve the natural beauty of New Zealand by preventing hordes of campers fouling the landscape with rubbish and fire pits and stripped trees and whatnot. I’m not sure what this wooden tipi is all about, but hopefully its occupant didn’t find himself on the wrong side of the law).
When I tramp through leafy woods or along dirt paths I often think of Robert Frost. Not the subtle, tricky Frost of the poetry scholar, of course, but the rugged, individualistic Frost who gets Ford commercials put to popular interpretations of his verses.
(I must really be reluctant to post these wildlife photos; I had to delete a paragraph about literary deconstructionism here.)
Instead of talking about authorial intent, let’s talk about how much I love hydrangeas! They’re all over the place in East Auckland, and I think they’re some of the coolest and prettiest flowering bushes around!
There is, at one point, a small spillway emptying into a reservoir!
I don’t know how much is man-made vs. natural, but the birds don’t seem to care!
The ducks enjoy the reservoir either way.
I realized after coming here that bird photography would be difficult because dogs are allowed in this reserve. All the birds are much more skittish than I think they would otherwise be.
I’m not sure how I completely failed to center the duck in this shot. I think I was too entranced by the cool ripple effects on the water!
This tui annoyingly refused to present his good side to my camera.
They seem black at first glance, but especially in flight their shiny blue undertones become evident. I, of course, captured none of this.
Pukekoes are often seen in wet or swampy areas. They’re not as iconic as the kiwi, but they’re definitely much better at not going extinct.
The ducks are more chill than the other birds here, likely because the dogs are not allowed to go in the water.
These little guys are hard to capture, as they don’t sit still for very long at all!
This complete fail of a shot is so bad it’s comical. I think this is what I’m going to end this post on :)
See you next time as I explore a cool little spot I found by utter accident!