Monday 22 October 2012

Above it all

Well last week I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours flying through some of Hawkes Bays stunning countryside.

I'm part of a team doing some Ecological characterisation of the Ngaruroro River Catchment, one of the four main river catchments within the region. The Ngaruroro flows from its headwaters in the Kaweka Ranges, through some absolutely stunning rolling farmland. There are many tributaries to this large river, and the river itself provides significant areas of braided river habitat for riverbed breeding species such as banded dotterel. It also holds a few breeding pairs of South Island oystercatcher, the first place in the North Island that this species was found to breed, confirmed in 1980.

It's a pretty special place, and when you get to see it from the air you really get to see what a beautiful part of the World you live in! That said, flying conditions were not ideal, with wind increasing during the morning on the first day, and it getting a little wobbly by mid-morning. The next day we knew there was a bit of wind up there, and when we got up to where we wanted to be realised it was a little too lively, with very swirly turbulence and passing rain showers making it a little too exciting. Made for some stunning photos though. Below are some of my most aesthetically pleasing shots. Hope you enjoy them.

The rolling hills of Hawkes Bay with flat agricultural land in the foreground.

A dairy herd flows back onto the pasture.

Stream valleys run like veins through the landscape.

Beef cattle grazing on the still green pastures with long shadows.

Streams bisecting the green landcape.

Pine trees forming an impenetrable canopy.

Sunshine on the lowlands but murky dark skies and rain in the foothills.

Trees just coming into leaf cast long shadows on the landscape.

Vineyards, an expanse of posts and wire.

Unnamed tributary of the lower Poprangi Stream in stormy and windy conditions.

The Ngaruroro River running towards the sea with stark morning light making it look like molten lead running towards the coast.

Stormy skies and rain showers passing an green and rolling countryside.

Looking like a coiled serpent the Otamauri Stream cuts deeply through the landscape.


  1. Very cool! Native vegetation in those riparian zones? Dramatic images of how vital those corridors are for stitching the ecosystem together.

  2. Thanks Pepper, you hit the nail on the head. These riparian corridors are incredibly important bird habitat in New Zealand, even the not exclusively native ones can be important! This is all part of the assessment we are doing for the Hawkes Bay Regional Council, having done the Tukituki River last year and now the Ngaruroro. Of course I am looking at the bird values, but others are assessing the reptiles, vegetation, and wetland habitats.

  3. Brent - Great description of the Brown Kiwi Night. Any idea how old the chick was ? If it was very young you may have been very very close to the breeding burrow - good to know for next year ???
    Ian Cooper