I am playing around with the point and shoot camera a lot at the moment and on this gloomy day earlier in the week I visited the stand of Flowering Cherry Trees which were in various stages of autumn decline.
A few trees were still displaying vibrant and colourful leaves.
The light was rather cold on this day but here is a photo looking into the light.
And this shot, with the light behind me is looking at the other side of the tree.
The differences were surprising and pleasing to me and my growing curiosity with photography.
My suspicions were that we had a Bellbird back in the neighbourhood. The Bellbird or Korimako (such a beautiful Maori name for this bird) has the most delightful song but the clever Tuis can mimic it so a sighting is the only real proof.
Captain Cook, who led explorations to New Zealand, described the song of the Bellbird as sounding “like small bells exquisitely tuned.”
I noted a Bellbird visitor back in February and March 2012 on my blog.
Proof perfect happened yesterday as I got out of my car and heard the most beautiful song coming from the Silver Birch tree above me. Sure enough there was a male Bellbird, olive green but with glimpses of black and iridescent shaded feathers, singing to me before he flew off rapidly across the road to a large Bottle brush tree. As a nectar feeder that tree will be providing good food right now.
Later in the afternoon I sat at an upstairs window and watched him chase and catch an insect and then bully two starlings from another tree. A tree large enough for all three birds with space to spare! He is smaller than a starling too but that was not of any importance it would seem.
Do I have a photo of this very welcome visitor? No, but I will work on that. They are extremely well camouflaged birds and quick in their movements.
In the meantime here is a photo of a Bellbird source doc.govt.nz
and here is website to give you a lot more information about yet another of our wonderful native birds who are returning to our suburbs in increasing numbers.
Part of the successful resurgence in the Tui population can be attributed to their preparedness to eat food that is not part of the native smorgasbord on offer.
At the moment a neighbour’s spreading Protea tree (Proteas are South African natives but which can grow very well in New Zealand) is a fine dining table for the Tuis.
The flowers begin as cones.
Once open they are very fluffy looking inside
And each part of the flower has a slightly fluffy quality to it.
I have been watching the Tuis feed in this tree and it appears that they pop their curved beak in between the sides of these flowers rather than supping from the open top.
Somewhere beneath the fluffy interior must be sweet nectar. The pickings must be very good as they dine there everyday, visiting many times in the day and they sing and whistle endlessly giving thanks for their splendid meals.
Our incredible summer has given way to a slow, gentle and warm autumn with the occasional storm and chilly snap.
No matter the calmness and mild temperatures because the light is decreasing noticeably now and the shortest day is only a month or so away.
Lowering light levels and the cold of last weekend has seen leaf colour turn and the leaves beginning to fall in large numbers now.
On a short walk yesterday before the rain set in I captured these photos.
I am persisting in my attempts to achieve a great shot of the fantails (Piwakawaka) who are constantly visiting the garden at the moment. They are playful, cheeky, wee birds who can fly temptingly close to humans at times. They are not still for more than a second or two and all the while they chirrup and tweet in a very happy manner. As insect eaters they dive in and out amongst the leaves on trees to find food which also means a clear view is almost impossible. But I am not deterred and it is a joy to watch them flit about.
Here are some of my recent attempts…..
Found me in the maple tree!
Now I’m on the creeper on the trellis…can you see me?