Yesterday, the second half of the year began and with the weather pretending to be springlike we went for a stroll along the edge of the Pauatahanui Inlet. The light from the sun was golden, the air still in sheltered spots and the temperature surprisingly mild.
Birdlife was abundant and active, although a low tide meant photographs were tricky to take, even with a zoom.
The White faced Heron was happy to show its elegant footwork once we sat down and were quiet. It appeared to have plenty of food on offer in the shallows.
This spot is a favourite for the local Kingfisher population and there were plenty about. They like to sit in the trees, scope out their next meal (mostly small mud crabs) and dive swiftly to catch it.
This one was more than happy to sit on a rock and look about. It looks very well fed! Camera gear and equipment needs to be much more elaborate than mine to get good photographs of these zippy, beautiful birds.
These flowers (Kniphofia) displayed winter warmth.
Our stroll took us past Toe Toe, which always respond to any breeze or wind blowing and can look very stream-lined and active.
Then past this tree having shed its leaves but glowing with life still. ( The strength of the prevailing wind can be seen in its shape – we really do have tree-bendy winds here)
And the light on the water was magical.
When I went for a walk around the pond at the Forest and Bird reserve last weekend I could hear lots of Piwakawaka (NZ Fantail) calling in their happy, friendly, chirpy manner.
This little one flew down on to the path in front of me and proceeded to hop towards me.
As you can see in this final image the little bird was on the move. They are rarely still for more than a second.
What I cannot show you is this bird, barely an arm’s length from me, on a branch of Kawakawa. My camera batteries died at just the wrong moment. Our Fantails are busy, flitty and flighty birds and despite its friendliness and courage this one did not wait for me to replace the batteries with fresh ones.
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.
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.