Tag Archives: Noddies

Ocean, sky, clouds, and noddys

Yesterday, I was processing photos I’d taken over the past few days. When I saw this one, I thought, ‘I could have used that on Sunday,’ when responding to the Sunday Stills challenge theme of ‘Sky’ (more responses here), and Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Perspective’ (more responses here).

Usually, when I’m in the water, my focus is on spotting fish. But I also look around with my head above water and, one morning, I saw this flock of Hawaiian noddys wheeling back and forth over the ocean. Just after I took this photo, they flew directly overhead before gliding away to the south.

Hawaiian noddy

A pair of Hawaiian noddies skin the ocean.A Hawaiian noddy flies over the ocean.

Photographing birds is always a challenge for me, especially when they’re in flight. Hawaiian noddies are tricky because they tend to skim the water as they fly along the coast. When I do see them, they’re usually as close as they’re going to get and, by the time I have my camera organized, the best I can hope for is a blurry photo of some tail feathers.

What was unusual on this day was that, while I saw the noddy in about the same relative position as I had other times, it was higher up, dipping below the cliff and then climbing up again. As it was heading into the wind, it was making slow progress and I thought I had a chance. But each time I was about to get the bird in shot and in focus, it would slide away again. However, each time it reappeared, it got closer to where I was.

Where I was standing, the cliff dipped toward me, and when the bird swooped in to that recess (still evading my camera) I felt sure I would be able to capture it when it flew out again. I was ready, I was focused, but no bird. I was pretty sure it hadn’t sneaked by, out of sight. Then I realized that the chances were I’d stumbled on the bird’s roost. I couldn’t see the cliff face so I waited and a few minutes later two noddies flew out, circled around, and returned to the cliff.

Eventually, four birds came out, and while they looked a similar size, I suspect two of them were chicks that were about ready for independent life. It was still a challenge getting the birds in the frame, and I didn’t help myself by switching my focus from one bird to thinking I could get all four in shot, and back again.

In the end, I was happy to have a few decent photos and more happy to have had the time just watching them circling and swooping, dipping and diving, before swinging back to their roost.