My camera has been quietly resting for the last few weeks but I have been out and about on a few days in March this year.
Here are my favourite photographs from March. I really like the contrasts between the brown bleached hills and the lush greens seen in the trees and leaves of other photos. Nature showing so much of its best around or near my home.
The big dry on the Belmont Hills
Early morning at home
Silhouette of a Fantail. A fleeting moment of stillness.
Kereru feasting on Karamu berries ( I think)
The stunning work of a small spider.
This ball of feathers is a fantail preening – so little stillness with these delightful birds
Two weeks ago I headed out in our back garden with the camera on Macro setting to record the intricate beauty of Kowhai tree flowers. I love the intense golden colour of these flowers which provide so much nourishment to the Tui from the nectar within each flower.
Kowhai tree flowers
Tui have an articulated tongue that has a fibrous brush like tip that allows them to harvest the nectar from these tubular flowers.
The final photograph shows some of the damage that results from vigorous drinking by the Tui.
In an interesting side note. Kereru (Native Wood Pigeon) eat these flowers rather than sup the nectar.
My eye has been caught in the past few days by clusters of fat yellow/orange berries hanging on native trees. They are Karaka trees which produce their very large berries in summer time.
There is a small Karaka tree on the reserve next to my home and it has plenty of berries on it too this year. It is a surprisingly small size given how big Karaka trees can grow and normally it has very few berries on it but this year it is dotted with the pretty coloured berries.
From Te Ara, the online encyclopaedia of New Zealand I read that the seed inside of each berry contains Karakin, a lethal toxin. Maori discovered that by first baking and then soaking the seeds in water they are safe for human consumption. Don’t try this at home without further detailed information I would suggest.
However in true symbiotic style our beautiful native wood pigeon, the Kereru is the only bird who can swallow these whopping berries and they help regenerate the Karaka trees.
The feast of berries this summer is going to fill the substantial bellies of Kereru who are appearing in our area in increasing numbers.
I wonder if the small tree near my home will be visited by passing Keruru? I hope so.