"It's a UFO, look aliens have come."

This was the reaction Mabel Edmonds and her workmates had when they saw a "strange pink streaky thing" in the Northland sky yesterday morning.

And she wasn't the only one to think that.

Several Northern Advocate readers captured photos of the "UFO" spotted all over the Whangarei District including Sandy Bay, Ruakaka and Kamo.


However, it was not an alien mothership carrying Whangarei's newest residents. Or citizens escaping the United States ahead of the election results.

MetService meteorologist Lisa Murray confirmed it was a lenticular cloud.

As wind flows across mountains or hills it forms waves. If there is enough moisture in the air, these waves will condense to form lenticular clouds.

Ms Edmonds was loading cargo on a ship at Northport, south of Whangarei, when she saw what looked like a "spaceship" about 6.05am.

"We saw this strange pink streaky thing. It ended up behind a grey cloud and then we didn't see it again. We just saw this big light flash behind the mountain, like a camera flash."

Ms Edmonds said everyone's first thought was that it was a UFO.

"That's what it looked like," she said. "It looked like fire around a ring."

When the Northern Advocate shared a story about the cloud on Facebook, it caused some speculation.

"Cheeky bloody aliens must have been checking out my fishing spot," one person said.

"Someone call Mulder and Scully," another added.

Ms Murray said it wasn't uncommon for lenticular clouds to be mistaken for spaceships.

"Often when we get these clouds we get the association with spaceships. It's because they have a smooth edge and they're quite shallow and stand alone."

Ms Murray said the clouds form in perpendicular alignment to the direction of the wind.

"Quite often we see these over mountain ranges or hills."

She said judging by the photo it looked like quite a small lenticular cloud.