Category Archives: Birds

Ghosts in my garden


Five or six years ago I cut down a grapefruit tree in my garden. This was a little sad because blackbirds often nested in it but we didn’t eat the fruit and it was in the way. The blackbirds seem to love citrus trees and now nest in my lemon and tangelo. Anyway, the bare ground underneath grassed over and you can’t see that the tree was ever there. The story isn’t lost though: every so often a small patch of fungi appear on the lawn. I like to think of them as my grapefruit tree ghost, reminding me that grapefruit tree roots are still down there.


Gannets at Muriwai


There aren’t many gannets at the Muriwai colony that get this kind of solitude – the rural retreat. But I guess gannets get solitude most of the year so perhaps they enjoy the bustle of the breeding colony. The noise is constant, and if you want animal behaviour it’s all here – the fighting, the courting, the mating. I saw one bird get thrown over the cliff by his opponent, but then gannets can fly!


This is more the usual living density which looks ok on a small scale but being stuck in the middle looks a bit claustrophobic to me.


The white-fronted terns choose to have their own spot off to one side.


I was just pleased to see Muriwai in fine weather for a change. I had a quick explore in the bush reserve behind the houses. There’s a great short walk off Domain Crescent to a lookout which gives you fantastic views up and down the coast. And nice bush too.

Thrush and blackbird dawn chorus


On July 12th I wrote of the song thrush beginning its dawn chorus at five to seven each morning. Slowly over the intervening six weeks that time has been pushed back, slowly at first but with gathering pace. After a couple of weeks it jumped to 6.45, then 6.35 and 6.25, seemingly in 10 minute steps. Then more quickly to where it is now at 6.10 am. Last weekend I noticed for the first time that the blackbird has joined in, dominating with its stronger, more resonant song. Blackbirds should have been singing earlier in August but this is the first I’ve heard. Now that the two are singing together it is easy to hear the difference between them.

Out of interest, sunrise on July 12 was at 7.32 am, 37 minutes after the thrush began singing. Now sunrise is at 6.46 am which is 36 minutes after the thrush and blackbird. I can’t fault the thrush on its consistency.

First day of spring

It’s the first day of spring. This fantail, and a couple of silvereyes before it, celebrated with a good splish in the birdbath.

This reminds me, yesterday afternoon we were watching about 10 dolphins having a good time at Manly beach. There were more people there watching than there are on some days in mid-summer. It’s like living on the Serengeti around here!!

More robin nests at Shakespear


Had an absolute stunner of a Shakespear day for sunshine and finding robin nests. We have four nests now and still none found at Tawharanui. The nest pictured is in a kiekie about two meters off the ground and easily photographed without disturbing the female. Next time I check her I’ll look to see how many eggs she has while she’s off the nest. Such tolerant birds.


I heard the resident single male robin singing in this valley behind the campground this morning so if you’re camping at Shakespear Park this summer you might get a dawn chorus of robin as well as whiteheads and all the regulars. The paired males generally sing a lot less so if he’s not so vocal later in summer it may mean he’s attracted one of this year’s fledglings as a mate. They won’t nest until next season though.You’ll find some robin song on this link.


NZ pigeon/kereru


Tawharanui was just swarming with kereru this week. It may just have been because they are feeding low that they were so noticeable. In the absence of much fruit at the moment they are browsing on  foliage, in this case the tiny flowers and leaves of the divaricating Coprosma it is sitting on. Doesn’t look that appetising.


Spot the kereru? Dead centre, about a meter off the ground.