Wednesday 30 November 2016 – Muriwai Beach, Auckland, New Zealand.
Muriwai Beach is about a 50 minute drive from central Auckland, on a good traffic day… It is one of my favourite places in Auckland and I have been taking photographs here for many years. It became even more special to me, and to my family when we scattered dad’s ashes over the cliff tops after he passed suddenly in November 2007.
I generally go there when I come to New Zealand, and mum and I went up for a visit this morning.
It was high tide for a change, from memory the last few times I have been the tide has been quite a way out. So it was nice to see and hear the waves crashing on the rocks.
Mum and I have a pretty regular wee walk we do when we visit, up the steps from the beach to the cliff top where we left dad, then over to the various gannet colony viewing platforms and then back down the path near the road. This morning was no exception.
The gannet colony on the cliff tops is now a very popular tourist attraction, gaining more and more visitors each year. We were lucky it was very quiet today. It is also getting busier and busier with more gannets coming each year, primarily due to successful breading. It was not that long ago when the number of breeding pairs numbered under a hundred. There are now well over 1000 birds nesting here. It is not yet peak gannet season, so the numbers are down a bit, though the nesting area has really spread along the cliffs since I was last here.
There were quite a few birds sitting on nests. The gannets only lay one egg at a time and the parents share responsibility for sitting on the egg, you can just see one under the front bird.
I was quite surprised to see that there were some chicks here as well. They start off bald, but soon turn in to white balls of fluff,
Before their full colours come on, and they spread their wings and fly.
It is a very cool place.
See you next time dad. xx