Monthly Archives: January 2014

Friday photos from Plimmerton Beach

Sand and water patterns from Plimmerton Beach this week.

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A Shining example

I was really startled to find a small bird with an iridescent green back and wings sitting beneath my car yesterday. It hopped away as I approached and because I did not recognise this small bird I gently instructed it to please stay where it was until I returned with my camera.

I was delighted to find it had obeyed my request and I managed to get two photos before it scuttled into the undergrowth of the garden. I think it had been stunned by flying into a window on the house but I am hopeful that with rest it would recover as it was quick in its movements and it flew a short distance into the garden.

Once inside I loaded up my photos and then went straight to this excellent online website which helps identify birds.

And here it was: The Shining Cuckoo or Pīpīwharauroa
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I hear it so often in late spring when it migrates back to New Zealand and at times during the summer months. I see in the notes on the website that this bird is more often heard than seen and my experience has been just that until yesterday.

Its markings were very striking and there was much to find attractive about this rather rascally bird.

I have blogged about the Cuckoo here and here and also here about the Riroriro (Grey Warbler) which incubate and raise the young of these Cuckoos.

More Shakespeare quotes at Plimmerton

I’ve copied and pasted a comment by Russell Plume on Tuesday this week about his creative work piecing old weathered pieces of brick into quotations from Shakespeare and what may yet appear in a setting for all to enjoy.
Good morning Lynley,
The comments attached to your post are very touching. Thanks to you and to your readers.
I have three more settings that have yet to appear along the wall.
“There is a tide in the affairs of men” from Julius Caesar.
“Out damn’d spot, out I say!”. A desperately unhinged Lady MacBeth giving a gentle reminder to dog owners… .
“Ahakoa iti he pounamu”. A Māori proverb: “Although small it is precious” (another reference to Plimmerton…).
The complete collection is still a work in progress.
The ‘tide’ setting has a home which hasn’t been constructed yet. The other two are orphans.
Were you aware that “Brevity is the soul of wit” is above the surge wall 4 or 5 houses south of Queens Ave (down to the end, turn left)?
Thanks again for being so supportive.
Cheers
Russell

I have blogged about them here, here, here and here.

However in my haste on the chilly beach earlier this week I missed this setting.DSCF6273
On a glorious summer’s day yesterday I took a photo to ensure a complete record from the beach front.
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I also walked to the local amateur dramatic theatre nearby to record this quote.
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I follow the Facebook page that Russell has set up here so I will post updates as new settings find a home. My blog statistics always lift dramatically when I post about these quotes by the sea. There is a real interest in them globally.

Here are the rest of the settings along the surge walls at Plimmerton Beach, Porirua, New Zealand.
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Shakespeare by the Sea, Plimmerton….in honour of the people of Christchurch

I first posted about Russell Plume’s creative use of washed up pieces of brick to form quotations from Shakespeare here here and here.
Here is a piece of brick in the sand from my wanderings today.
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Just the same as those Russell has picked up in his wanderings and used to form the quotations.

Russell had intended that this quote be permanently placed somewhere in Christchurch to recognise the people there and all they had experienced and endured from the 12,500 (and probably more) earthquakes since 2010.

I follow the Shakespeare by the sea Facebook page and learnt a day or so ago that this setting of the quote has been erected on one of the sea walls along Plimmerton beach in honour of the people of Christchurch. From the Facebook page: What is the city but the people? Dedicated to the people of Christchurch. Installed January, 2014 by Porirua City Council. Many thanks to them and to the Mayor Nick Leggett.

This setting is installed on the fence at the property on the north side Queens Ave (go to the end of the street, walk down onto the beach, and turn right).

And so I followed the directions this morning and here is the quote for Christchurch.
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Here are some of the other quotations Russell created along this stretch of my favourite beach.
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..”the centre cannot hold”…..with apologies to W.B. Yeats

The towering American Agave that I have been watching as I drive past it as I leave and return to my home has altered quite suddenly.
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I first noticed the change at its base over the weekend when the weather was too wet to stop and take a photograph.
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The phrase from Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming” was instantly in my mind “the centre cannot hold”…..but from when I wonder? I wrestled with analysing this poem perhaps in High School or perhaps University but despite my poor memory about timing, the phrase was instantly there and it seemed so fitting to describe what I could see.

Its lengthy flower head has withstood a myriad of howling north westerly winds in this changeable and frustrating summer we are experiencing. Despite the force of the winds the flower head continues to move from yellow toning flowers high above to now more finger-like growths which I presume are the seed pods.
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But today I have taken these photographs to show how “the centre cannot hold” for much longer. The once tough, rubbery, wide, strong leaves have softened and droop noticeably now.
Up close there is more evidence of its succulent heritage and there are places where the gelatinous contents within the leaves are becoming obvious.
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The wind today was a brisk and chilly southerly so the Agave had more shelter but to muddle Yeats’s work further “things fall apart” and I think that has begun as nature takes its course.

Conversations at the water cooler….

Well perhaps not the water cooler but the sugar water feeder. Since the flaxes have finished flowering the Tuis have been emptying the sugar water feeder up to 6 times per day. It seems that we are serving three course meals with drinks to a great many local birds.

Aggressive behaviour has been more apparent with some startling displays of aerobatics and territory dominance. But I have also watched two Tuis happily sharing the feeder, young being shown where to drink, juveniles/teenagers stocking up on fast food and older birds replenishing their tired and thinner bodies after the rigours of the breeding cycle.
Many of the birds are not at all fazed by our presence in the garden and there are times when we can approach them quite closely.

More regularly Tui are sitting on the fence by the feeder and evenings are good times to spot two birds such as these two in enthusiastic conversation.
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It all began with an often heard song that heralds the arrival of one large bird. Then another Tui flew on to the fence and both were puffed up and looking rather unkempt.

There continued much singing, both at each other simultaneously,
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but also one to the other. Do not be fooled by their closed beaks for Tuis have two voice boxes and often produce lovely notes without much visible beak movement. At other times there are beak movements and no apparent sounds to our human ears. We are assured that Tuis sing notes that are beyond our hearing.
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A little shunning was witnessed despite a beautiful tune being offered.
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A little more chat back and forth
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And then one turned its back and was gone.
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As I type this at 8.30pm in the evening as the golden sunset glows in the western sky
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there is a continuous but quiet parade of supper eaters visiting our watering hole before they head somewhere to roost for the night. We suspect that moulting is underway for many of the Tuis as their plumage looks untidy and less vibrant.