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Gannet photos from Muriwai

All photos © Paul Hafner      (Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version.)

130 gannets It is quite crowded on the nesting areas (this is the southern point). The sites are jealously guarded, and any bird venturing too close will get pecked without mercy. (Bearing in mind that each site is home to two birds, there is plenty of opportunity for transgression when a bird comes to visit its mate.)
Southern point Living on the edge! Note the pair on the top right, displaying the gannets' bonding ritual (`mutual fencing').
The fight Birds which do not sit on their throne, or which don't lift off in a strong breeze inevitably get caught in fights. Some of the neighbours are just bemused onlookers, others prefer to get their share of the action.
Blustering Threatening gestures (after a fight)
Blustering Threatening gestures (after a fight)
Trying to land (1) The southern point.
Trying to land (2) The southern point again.
Close encounter, flying This photo was taken from the northern viewing platform.
Close encount
er, flying This photo was taken from the northern viewing platform.
The wingspan (1) With a bit of practice one can get pictures like this and the following few pictures from the viewing platforms, provided the wind conditions are right. (These are taken with my 100-300mm zoom, mostly at full extension.)
The wingspan (2)
The wingspan (3)
The wingspan (4)
The wingspan (5)
Closeup This bird was trying to check out life on the other side of the fence. As I was standing on the northern viewing platform, it landed behind me on the path (which is fenced). Both of us were rather surprised, but gradually it approached and hopped up to the platform where we could get acquainted (and I got a few shots). In the end it squeezed through between the rails of the viewing platform to enjoy freedom again.
Timid approach
Singing
In the evening sun A bird in the evening sun
Singing Flying with open bill
Returning A group of five gannets, returning from a fishing trip
Floating on air Sheer elegance!

Pictures of the location

Wide view Motutara Island, with southern point at left and Oaia Island at right in the distance
Oaia Island Oaia Island
Southern headlands View across the southern point to south end of Maori Bay, and headlands further south.
Motutara Island Motutara Island
Motutara Is
land Motutara Island
Paragliding Paragliding above the southern platform

Plants

Flax (phormium tenax) Flax (phormium tenax)
Flax Flax
Flax weaving The secret of flax weaving: if you come at the right moment, you can just cut it from the plant ...

Butterfly

Common copper butterfly Common copper butterfly (near northern platform, 23/12/98)

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