GANNETS IN MURIWAI

This rugged windswept coast facing the Tasman Sea northwest of Auckland, New Zealand stretches for 60kms. and has spectacular black sand interrupted by streams and rivers. One of the big draws in this place is the gannet bird colony whose members have made some of the rocky cliffs their nesting place. These 2 1/2 kg. birds have a wingspan of 2 meters and they are an impressive sight to behold as they swoop and dive in the updrafts near the shore searching for fish to catch.

About 1,200 pairs of gannets nest here from August to March each year so we caught sight of many of them on the rocky promontory beside the pounding surf. There is a wooden viewing deck a short walk from the car park beside the majestic beach where surfers look like seals frolicking in the large ocean swells.

Unfortunately, it was a very windy day and the fine-grained sand was blowing everywhere stinging our faces like bees! I only had a few minutes to aim the camera quickly and fire off a succession of quick shots before calling it quits for fear that the lens would get scratched and damaged.

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