Our neighbour has a flowering cherry tree alongside the footpath. It has looked a picture for a few days now and with inclement weather upon us I was determined to get out and see what I could record with my camera before the elements bruised and battered the beauty too much.
The tree is simply a mass of flowers and the scent strong and sweet. A Tui was enjoying the nectar but gave me a merry chase and managed to stay mostly out of sight.
The Tui appears as a black object in the centre of this image.
The wind was blowing about and the light glarey but sometimes that can work.
It has been an excellent day for blogging, not so good for enjoying photography.
The eldest member of the family has a birthday in early August and we made the journey to Hawkes Bay to spend some time visiting and to share a special lunch out with him.
The weather was a total contrast shifting from a very warm day to a very cold, wet day the next. The winter light made photography tricky but delivered some interesting photos despite the glare and the gloom.
And amidst the gloom there were vibrant colours glowing.
This afternoon the weather people have issued a heavy snow warning for my part of New Zealand. They suggest the snow will fall overnight and tomorrow morning on hills at around 300 metres.
Will it happen? I don’t know. Snow falling here is a rare event but it has happened in the past. It is certainly bitterly cold here as we head into a second week of very low temperatures, biting winds and plenty of rain. Earlier predictions of a warm winter are a distant memory now.
However this magnolia bud about to burst forth is a result of the warmer conditions we enjoyed up until 10 days ago. It is a very early bud.
This brave daffodil is more “on time” as they do flower earlier here than the date that officially marks spring.
With snow forecast then this Edelweiss flowering in the garden is not looking so foreign right now.
Wikipedia offers this: Edelweiss (English pronunciation i/ˈeɪdəlvaɪs/, from German [ˈeːdəlvaɪs]; systematic name Leontopodium alpinum or Leontopodium nivale ssp.), is a well-known mountain flower, belonging to the sunflower family.
The plant is unequally distributed and prefers rocky limestone places at about 1800–3000 m altitude. It is non toxic, and has been used traditionally in folk medicine as a remedy against abdominal and respiratory diseases. The dense hair appears to be an adaptation to high altitudes, protecting the plant from cold, aridity and ultraviolet radiation. As a scarce short-lived flower found in remote mountain areas, the plant has been used as a symbol for alpinism, for rugged beauty and purity associated with the Alps, and as a national symbol especially of Austria and of Switzerland.
With the breeding season behind them now the birds are becoming more visible and their songs more audible. Yesterday I could hear the beautiful song of the Riroriro or Grey Warbler and as I sat looking at the Tall Trees section of the garden I could see a tiny bird flitting amongst the branches.
A closer look confirmed that it was the Grey Warbler, surrogate parent of the Shining Cuckoo ( in the photo below. Note the difference in size between the tiny warbler pictured further down the post and this Cuckoo.)
Grey Warblers only eat insects so it was hunting time for small insects to be found in the trees. I went out into the garden with the camera in the hope of getting a clearer photo than this attempt last year in March.
I was fortunate to find the little warbler on the aged kowhai tree on the reserve. The remarkable feature I saw and heard was this male bird singing its heart out, all while grazing for food. It is stunning to watch such a little beak cleverly move along leaves and branches while also creating beautiful music.
Male Grey Warbler or Riroriro Feb 26th 2014
It was a but a brief moment or two before the wee bird flew across the road to a large bottle brush tree for more fine pickings and to serenade the neighbours.