Tag Archives: willow trees

A Sunday outing to Heretaunga Park

A break in the bleak, wet weather saw me head out to parts unknown. My destination was Heretaunga Park in Upper Hutt.
I was not disappointed in my time spent wandering in the fresh, cold air. The sun was out at times and the breeze only felt in more exposed spots.
Upstream I came upon these two who appeared to be sleeping in the middle of the water.

NZ Shovelers

NZ Shovelers

I suspect they could rest on the stony bed. The male was very protective of his female and kept his sharp eye on me at all times.
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These are New Zealand Shovelers (Kuruwhengi), endemic to my country. Their beaks are much wider and longer than their more common duck friends.

There were plenty of Mallard ducks and as I sat watching the water and the ducks this handsome fellow came very close to watch me.
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Another couple were shaking their tail feathers displaying such an array of patterns and colours on their feathers.
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This couple were snoozing on the very edge of the pool, perhaps cooling their heels?
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No sign of ducklings yet but winter has bitten hard since early July. However this willow was just putting out its fresh, new, fragile leaves.
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A very different bird call drew my attention and across the stream were these brightly coloured birds. The Eastern Rosellas that I have been searching for, for a long period of time. A small flock were in the trees and in a flurry of feathers two of this group flew down to the pool on the other side of the stream and proceeded to have very energetic baths.
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So much movement and droplets spraying and flapping.
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A Tui joined them here.
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In a whoosh they all left and I heard the call of a Paradise Shelduck away across the soccer field. The walk was well worth it as I came across this Magpie, who was on the move away from me to join another off in the distance.
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The male Shelduck was honking in his deep, monotonous way but no reply came while I was there.
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High above him in the bare, wintery trees were more Eastern Rosella (In NZ from cage-escaped birds. Also found in Eastern Australia).
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After taking some more photos I turned and my eye was caught by the heavy flight of a Kereru.
Here is this beauty having a nibble in a Kowhai tree which is almost flowering.
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And here is the Kereru showing off its brilliant whiter than white undergarments…..perhaps pantaloons or long legged bloomers!
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With the light beginning to dip and illuminating the flaxes I headed for the car and home.
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Although I did stop and take this photo to illustrate that early spring is beginning….
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A host of golden daffodils……..of various tonings

Spring is showing itself here more dramatically with each passing day. I went down to the reserve near our local school and kindergarten today where there are thousands of daffodils planted. They are planted in the grass beneath a stand of flowering cherry trees.

I blogged about the cherry trees here and mentioned that this reserve is in honour of Porirua’s sister city relationship with Nishio city in Japan.

The wind was gusty so the daffodils were dancing and nodding. The trees above them are budding but have to yet to flower.

A variety of daffodil bulbs have been planted giving a varied show.

Across from the reserve was a weeping willow tree just putting out its first soft, tender, pretty green leaves in a hazy display.

A flowering fruit tree was bursting with blossom.

And further down the walkway was a small flowering tree with these delicate white blossoms showing.

“Nature’s first green is gold……

I have had a poem on my mind for days now. Despite the very, very wintry weather we have been experiencing here since last Sunday night, there are signs everywhere that spring is not far away.
I have noticed, in particular, that the willow tree branches are either turning golden or have a russet gold hue. My father quoted Robert Frost’s powerful poem on this phenomenon around this time of the year, just a few weeks before his death in September 1989.

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day,
Nothing gold can stay.” Robert Frost.

We read this poem at his memorial service.

But this year it speaks to me doubly as we watch one of our cats require increased supportive care from the vet and under go more tests as we try to determine the cause of his lack of appetite, high inflammation levels and spells of general malaise, despite our love and best efforts at home.

Spring with its vitality and message of new life can be harsh when events in that season tell of the opposite.