I have been fortunate in the past three or more years to hear the beautiful song of the Korimako, New Zealand Bellbird. Eventually I spotted one in the garden but it was a fleeting view as this fast moving bird was there and gone.
Two very tall Bottle Brush trees in neighbouring gardens provide food for our nectar feeding birds, especially the Tui and Bellbird.
My attempts to photograph a Bellbird have been futile so far. But today our lovely visiting Bellbird ( or perhaps more than one) has been in and around the garden and singing temptingly close by.
With cold winter light offering little assistance I ventured out with my camera to try and locate Korimako feeding in the tree across the road. The zoom on my camera is very good and I was able to gain one photo.
I crossed the road carefully and stood a way off from the tree believing that the bird would be fearful and take flight. However food was a stronger pull and with plenty of foliage to hide safely in I was able to move closer and closer without causing the bird to fly away.
My luck held and I came home with some pleasing photographs and the great sense of achievement gained from ticking a “wanted bird” off the list.
I have included a link to a sound clip of the clear, bell like song of this very special New Zealand native bird.
Finally I have set time aside to upload a video clip of Tuis visiting the sugar water feeders in my garden last November (2014).
It is my first You Tube upload and seemed simple enough thank goodness.
To get the best effect from the You Tube clip click this link here: , turn the sound up on your device and enjoy the songs of the Tui (they have a double voice box which means they can make a large range of fluting notes, through to gurgles and croaks). All the louder bird song/sounds on this clip are those of Tui.
I hope you can also hear the rustling sounds of their wings.
I have blogged about Tui many times here on my blog and they continue to bring me endless delight as they visit the garden.
During the next breeding season I will be on the look-out for visiting fledglings and I plan to video those charming youngsters.
Many readers of my blog will know how much I enjoy feeding the Tui and taking photographs of these iconic and special New Zealand birds.
As word has got about in the Tui world that we have two sugar water feeders on offer, the number of birds visiting each day to drink their fill has risen. Antics at the feeders have increased substantially too.
Moulting season has come and gone this year and with it a small but delightful collection of feathers have been left in my garden.
Here is a selection from my collection:
Filamentous feathers of a Tui’s white, double tufted curled feather wattle
Filoplume feather from a Tui’s “shawl” around its neck and across its upper back
Wing or tail feathers showing some iridescence
Soft brownish breast or underbelly feathers showing some iridescence
Possibly fledgling’s soft downy feathers?
And in other feathery news I have spotted a Bellbird investigating the feeder and also checking out the bottle brush bushes….no photos…..or Bellbird feather treasure……yet…..
After calling incessantly for food from its parents, this young Tui fledgling eventually came down on to the feeder.
Its pose is very much that of a fluffy, fledgling not long out of the nest.
But a gnawing hunger and observation of other Tui drinking at the feeder meant an exploration of how this food source worked.
First attempt was not so successful.
Second attempt and it was getting a little closer
Then success!! But no photo sadly.
Noises from other Tui had the fledgling showing more of its true size and condition.
And finally happy with some food in its tummy it posed for me.
No, I haven’t been away on a holiday trip, although my absence from this blog might indicate that I had. I have been busy decluttering and tidying and cleaning amongst other “around the house” chores.
It is the Tuis who appear to have returned from a holiday trip to who knows where?
This photo taken on 18th December 2014 shows evidence of the last really heavy rainfall we have received and certainly left the birds looking very bedraggled.
The weather was better the next day and the Tuis gone. The heat evaporated any sugar water that was left in the feeder dishes and apart from hearing the calls of the Tui off in the distance at dawn and last light there was no evidence of the crowds that had been visiting the feeders since September.
However a month to the date, almost, the Tuis have returned.
Initially just one or two and they did not herald their arrival, choosing to drink very quietly. But in the past two days numbers have increased and our songsters are back. It had been very quiet and strange without them. Many are nervous visitors so it will take time for them to become accustomed to our presence.
Many of the new year Tuis are juveniles and almost all the birds are looking less glossy and colourful.
The light yesterday was bright and glaring when I had some moments to try out my new Monopod (a welcome Christmas gift which allows more zoom capacity without camera shake). This last photo is of a younger bird I would suspect.
As I type this post two adult Tui have been debating the use of the feeders and singing to, or perhaps, at each other with some wing flapping happening, so normal transmission has resumed.
The Tom Thumb Bottle Brush bush is putting out new brushes at the moment and the Tuis love the nectar from these colourful, sweet flowers.
Above the bush is the Melia tree and the Tui often use the lower branches as a launch pad to drop into the bush.
Here is a Tui considering a leap into the bush.
Did he leap? Yes he did only to disturb another Tui deeper in the bush.
Demand at the 500ml sugar water feeder was far exceeding supply. So after discussions regarding siting an additional, 1 litre capacity feeder, the order was placed.
Keith at Backyard Birds, up north, as we say here in New Zealand, responds promptly and efficiently to email orders. Earlier this week a large, well packaged parcel arrived and Tui happiness was unwrapped.
A family member commented that the Tui now have a wine fridge on the right and a beer fridge on the left.
The Tui definitely love having two options. The squabbles, flapping, singing at each other, “beaking”, flying at each other, puffing up, and carolling have NOT stopped but my refilling duties have lessened somewhat.
Tui are the first birds to call the dawn which is increasingly early as we head to the longest day and they are often at the feeder in almost total darkness at night time.
I don’t quite manage a day as long as that so knowing there is greater capacity available to them as they nest and raise young is really reassuring.