Monthly Archives: October 2014

A Tui Hui

For those of you reading from beyond New Zealand, the Maori word “Hui” means a gathering.

Yesterday the local Tuis flocked to the sugar water feeder. It was something of a competition to see how many could perch on the feeder and gain access to the sugar water.

I think this photo shows the maximum number who had artfully arranged themselves on the structure.
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Others were on the fence or in the nearby Magnolia tree awaiting a space to open up!
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A right royal treat

The past few days have seen an increase in visits to the sugar water feeder by Tui and an even greater increase in aggression from these fascinating birds. The poor sparrows have been swooped at and seen out of a tree and off the property. The sparrows really are innocent of any crimes, just victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time at the moment.

However today at times the air has been thick with Tui drinking from the feeder.
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I have lost count of the number of refills I have already done today and the sun has not yet set!

My suspicion is that the first of this season’s fledglings are now independent of feeding by their parents but their parents have shown them the feeder. Some researchers indicate that while Tui are generally solitary birds there are times when families of Tui can be seen together.
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Food sources may have dwindled a little before the next food options become abundant.
Nesting and feeding new babies is definitely in full swing so parents are doubly hungry. It has been very windy and quite chilly for the past few days meaning the birds’ energy supplies are sapped quickly.

Here are a few photos from today’s gatherings at the feeder. It has been a very entertaining day.
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Family time at the Lake

It is 12 days since I visited the local Lake and took some photos of the Australian Coot family and other water fowl.
Today near the edge of the lake was a parent and one chick.
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Look at the size of those big paddling feet. It is no wonder that the Coot chicks can scoot along like little speed boats at times.
There was no sign of the other parent or the second chick so I decided to walk around the path further in the hope that I would find them on the more sheltered side of the rushes.
No luck there but I could see the Pukeko family together in bulrushes much closer to the path. I set off in that direction but rounded a corner to see this family heading my way.
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Caution was the option I took and after taking two photos of the high-stepping proud parents and their fluffy cygnets I retraced my footsteps and left the swans to their outing.
As I neared the path back to the shopping centre I spotted the two Australian Coot parents and both chicks.
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Feeding the young ones was very much the business of the day. The parents repeatedly dived to pluck weed or vegetation to offer to the peeping chicks.DSCF1240 (640x480) (640x480)

Then one of the chicks swam off in a very independent manner to balance on a bulrush and peck at the foliage or perhaps to rest up with a full belly.
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Patience required, magic can happen

The Kowhai tree on the reserve next to our property is in full flower. My intention has been to gather some very close up photos of the Tui feeding. So far I have been thwarted. The light has been wrong, the birds too wary of me, too many loud noises in the neighbourhood, a busy road, the speed of the birds as they harvest the nectar and tangled branches that obscure that perfect image.
I persisted today and have a few photos I am relatively happy with. Here is one:
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However later in the day one of the Tui decided that the three Tom Thumb Bottle Brush bushes that are very close to the kitchen window had plenty of pickings to feed on. Repeated visits happened all afternoon.
Here is a selection of images that I am thrilled with.
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“For every act of senseless violence in the world, use your camera to record random acts of beauty” Dewitt Jones

So in an antidote to senseless violence in the world here are some photos received by me during this past week. Soak up the beauty and light.
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Friday Fledglings

It is “that” time of year again in the garden. The time of year when the Blackbird fledglings are bumbling and stumbling out of their nests and are in various places around the garden.

I am so familiar with the “alarm” tweets of the parent birds warning of wandering cats or other dangers. But I am also now very familiar with the soft but gradually insistent “whistlely chirrups” of the fledglings.

Nature has dictated that baby blackbirds fledge with their tail feathers still to grow long and strong and their ability or skill to take shelter in high branches poorly formed. They do not look at all aware of the big bad world they have fluttered into.
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I feel for the hard working parents who have devotedly fed several babies and fattened them up beautifully only to then have to find them and feed them in the most obscure and often dangerous places.
Two days ago when the sun shone and the sky was intensely spring blue I could hear two fledglings calling. I found this one here in the Kowhai tree on the reserve on the other side of our fence.
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The other was amongst the maidenhair ferns beneath the old Magnolia tree. One quick photo here and I departed very quickly to avoid further stress to the birds.
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I scattered food for the hungry parent birds and wished them and their young very well.
I can hear more chirrups already this morning on a blustery spring day. The rain that is forecast for later in the day may help the dedicated parents find better supplies of worms and insects to nourish the family. . Meanwhile I will see what I can find to supplement the food supplies.