Tag Archives: NZ native birds

Stillness and Light

Earlier in the week, as the last hour of sunshine filled the garden and the incessant wind had dropped, I went into the garden with my camera.
Lovely light on the Kowhai tree leaves.
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Even the Tuis were happy to sit still for me on this occasion.
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We could hope for more of the same with summer officially beginning this week.

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Darby and Joan

There is definitely a change out there in the bird-o-sphere. The Sparrows and Blackbirds have been seen arguing over possible mates as the breeding season approaches even though for the humans it feels very much like the depths of winter, with spring a long way away.
In the past week the Tuis have changed their behaviours noticeably too. Groups have been visiting the Magnolia tree with all manner of chasing and flapping and branch hopping. There has been an increase in singing from the tops of trees as witnessed here.
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Then yesterday after hearing several long courting and wooing choruses I spotted these two, all puffed up and looking like an old married couple. My Mum would use the term “Darby and Joan” to describe this scene.
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Tui do not like to share space, especially as the males are establishing their territories in which to breed right now. So to see two birds sitting side by side so amicably was a surprise.

The cosy scene was quickly shattered as a rival bird flew into the tree.
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This caused the female companion to flee and the male to look above to see where trouble lay.
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Within seconds the tree was empty of Tui again.

Did you spot the sparrow photo-bombing in the last photo?

I spotted Darby and Joan together in the garden this morning again but they flew away too quickly for me to photograph.

Tui on Tuesday

No snow here but it is brutally cold and a local mountain road is closed at the moment due to snow.

Yesterday I braved the increasingly icy conditions in a patch of welcome, but brief sunshine to check out the Tuis.

This one had enjoyed a vigorous bath in our spouting which was still full of rain from recent showers.

From the bathing site the Tui fly to a nearby tree and shake out their feathers, preen, scratch, shake some more and sing about the joys of a free wash and dry, no matter the weather.
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Kicking back with the Keas

We spent some time at Nga Manu sanctuary on the Kapiti Coast yesterday enjoying the birds, the wildlife and the lowland bushwalks.

I posted two photos from our visit here.

One of the most special moments in our visit was spending time in the walk-through Kea aviary. They had been fed 30 minutes earlier which may have accounted for some of the loud calls we heard as we were enjoying other aviaries on the path to their one.
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The New Zealand Kea is one of our most colourful birds in terms of behaviour and it is also one of our endangered birds. It is unique because it is the only alpine parrot found in the world.

For a very extensive description of the Kea, plus exceptional photographs of this fascinating bird go here.

One of the Keas in the aviary was very sleepy after its food. The other was very intent upon preening to ensure any evidence of its recent meal was not on its feathers.

Keas have the most beautiful orange/red feathers beneath its wings and I narrowly missed a photo of this as my subject stretched and flapped its wings a little at one point.
Some evidence of this pretty colouration can be seen in this photo.
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My subject was very happy to pose for a time but then decided the tree needed further investigation.
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Stunning photos on Sunday

The little point and shoot camera has minimal zoom capacity but very little was needed today as first this Kea and then this Keruru obliged by coming very close to me. An absolute thrill to experience on a hot summer’s day.

Kea or NZ Native Parrot at Nga Manu sanctuary, Waikane

Kea or NZ Native Parrot at Nga Manu sanctuary, Waikane

Keruru of NZ Wood Pigeon at Nga Manu Sanctuary, Waikane

Keruru or NZ Wood Pigeon at Nga Manu Sanctuary, Waikane

Friday at the Feeder

Yesterday was a busy day for two Tui fledglings as they called, almost without a pause, for food from the tulip Magnolia near the sugar water feeder. At times they hopped amongst the branches in a skill they will use for life. The parent birds came to them far less often than pleased the young ones but their arrival was always welcomed with much noise and if a brief feed occurred there was much leaf stirring and wing flapping.

Around our dinner hour once again I witnessed the parent birds at the feeder, turning their heads after a quick sip to the young in the tree, then taking another sip and again another turn of the head. It certainly looked as if they were encouraging or directing the youngsters to a food source.

Tuis have two voice boxes and can emit sounds that our human ears cannot hear so I wonder if some special sound of encouragement was being emitted during this guiding.

Eventually one of the fledglings bumbled down on to the fence and then to the feeder for a sip or two. This one was quite nervous and flew back to safety in the tree when I attempted a photo or two.

I estimate that these were fledglings # 3 and 4 with numbers 1 and 2 off finding food elsewhere now, independent of their parents.

I had to go out after dinner so missed any further developments at the feeder.

This morning the plaintive calls were sounding and a single fledgling was in the tree. The cries did not continue as ceaselessly as yesterday and there have been two occasions that I have witnessed the little one having a good drink at the feeder.

The fledglings seem to have more tail feathers than their parents and you can see the lovely fan of feathers in this photo. And if you look very closely you can see some of its fluffy down around on its abdomen just above the tail area.
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I only managed two photos before the wee one returned to its perch and within minutes its head was beneath its wing in the sleeping pose of all birds.

It is a hot, sunny, and almost still day here with cicadas sounding and the birds are quiet. Late afternoon and evening have been busy times at the feeder so I will watch again later today.