When I was a child growing up in New Zealand my parents always said that “if you are in need then ask a Policeman.” (Not so many Policewomen back then)
Today was one of those spring days in Wellington when it is brutally cold, relentlessly wet and the wind is a gale coming straight off the Antarctic ice shelf. Not much of a day for venturing out. But an appointment this morning saw me head off rugged up.
I knew that I would have some difficulty in the gusty strong wind to hold the car door open as I got in and out of the car. Car parks are notoriously narrow and it is easy to damage another car if the door swings wildly in the wind. I declined an offer of help from a family member saying I would ask a passer-by for help if I needed it.
As I returned to my car I could see that the gap was narrow to the next car and the wind was still buffeting everything in its path. I determined to seek help and who should stride past me but a policeman!!!!
Challenge solved as I asked him for help. He was more than happy to hold the door for me and would have backed the car out of the car park for me had it been necessary. We laughed about “parental advice” to ask a Policeman/Woman and after I thanked him again off he went on his beat.
A few weeks ago I purchased this feeder for our garden.
The bottle contains sugar water which supplements food for the nectar feeding birds. It is my hope that the Tuis will visit the feeder during the months when their natural foods are scarcer.
Tui on flax
We also lost our largest Kowhai tree in the June storm. It was a “maybe it can be saved” to a definite “no it cannot be saved” decision.
While we have transplanted a teenage kowhai tree from the back of the section in to its place, it is unlikely to flower this season.
So the sugar water feeder was another offering to the Tuis in lieu of the tree they have enjoyed in the past few seasons.
My plans have gone somewhat awry with spring bursting into fullness here weeks early. The Tuis are currently spoilt for choice as every local kowhai tree is laden with the golden nectar-bearing flowers they adore eating.
On a positive note the tiny wax-eyes have thoroughly enjoyed the feeder. ( The sugar water is coloured with a minute drop of red food colouring to attract the birds.)
source: New Zealand pictures.com
We do, however, provide another facility for the Tuis and many other birds, in a rather more unintentional way.
When the spouting or guttering that channels rainwater off the house roof was installed, mistakes were made. The length was slightly short and the fall to the down-pipe was too shallow. This results in rainwater pooling at the higher end of the spouting. This provides the best bird bath in the world if daily numbers of birds using it is anything to go by. The Tuis being the largest of the bathing birds make a huge din and splash the water vigorously on to the concrete and parked car two storeys below.
So I may not be feeding the Tuis well at the moment but I am helping to keep them clean.
In a rather optimistic move this afternoon I put on my jacket and hood and went out to get some photos of the fallen trees near my home. The wind was still blustery and the wind chill factor meant outdoors it was below freezing so my trip outside was very short lived.
This Silver Dollar Gum crashed to the ground across the road from our home around 8pm as the storm really took hold and somehow we heard the sound of chainsaws over the raucous din of the roaring wind. An emergency crew had been called as this large tree had fallen across the road blocking each lane.
Sometime around 1am when I had finally fallen asleep more chain saw men turned up and cut up more of this tree perhaps after the gale had moved some of the bulk out on to the road again.
This Taupata was trimmed by the City Council last year because it is on Reserve land. They had left it a rather vulnerable shape and that plus its age and the terrific winds saw it split off at the base. The remaining branch looks potentially rotten so this tree may well disappear completely. The Council might plant another native in its place on the Reserve.
This is the really sad victim of the storm. It is the large Protea tree that I posted about here.
It has been a Tui meal table for months now. I can sit and watch this tree and the activities of the Tuis.
But the rain that has fallen all week has saturated the ground and that plus the top heavy shape of this tree and the violent wind has caused it to break off at ground level. I doubt that it can be recovered from here.
I note in this photo that I have captured a Tui in the tree and they are still visiting it to enjoy the nectar but it is a vastly different tree now and so sad to see.
I live in a city which carries the nickname “Windy Wellington” and last night the name suited it very well. A ferocious storm has hit the whole country and has come straight off Antarctica. Around 6pm the storm blew into my town.
Last night we rescued our outdoor furniture just before it was blown through a glass sliding door.
And we lost power twice which meant we were very cold. Our gas heater relies on electricity to power the fan! Without the fan the heater cuts out. Bed was the place to head but only to listen to the power of the storm as the house was buffeted almost non stop all night. The wind shrieked and howled with noises resembling banshees, wild monsters and other horror story characters. There were thumps and bumps and the sound of chain saws as emergency crews cleared the nearby fallen trees off the roads.
First light shows a section of very old fence has blown over, a gate (also old) is reeling on its hinges, we have a leak in the loo ceiling (seems an appropriate room for a leak to spring!) and the largest kowhai tree is at an odd angle. I hope we can rescue that lovely tree but time will tell on that one. So only minor damage really and for that we are very fortunate. Others have not fared so well.
It is still very stormy and freezing cold this morning so no photos as yet. It is a day to stay home with the heater going and the slow cooker preparing lamb shanks for dinner tonight…..well as long as the power stays on!
Late on Sunday afternoon we headed to the other side of the Pauatahanui Inlet for some much needed rest from garden work and studying.
The day had been glorious and the light perfect for taking photographs
but as we neared our parking spot the predicted change in the weather began to really show itself.
We have noted a dramatic increase in birdlife both on and above the Inlet in the past few weeks. However they are shy and like to scurry or fly away at our advances and without posh camera equipment it is difficult to capture much more than blobs.
The clouds told of the approaching front as it came in from the north
and edged a little in from the eastern flanks as well.
We got back to the car just as the first large raindrops plopped to the ground but not before we had spotted two Kingfishers and had heard the Canadian geese calling off in the distance.