Tag Archives: tui

A kowhai flower

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A heavy squall just passed through and then I found this, my first kowhai flower of the season at Shakespear Park. Will have to watch now and see if the tuis desert my sugar water feeder for the real thing.

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Dawn Chorus

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At five-to-seven in the morning the thrush starts to sing. He’ll be doing it from April to Christmas but as we get into spring he’ll get a bit more company. The dawn chorus is really just him at the moment, with just the odd note from a tui or a myna soon after 7. This month, though, the blackbird will join in and  tuis will start to get very vocal and very early as spring comes around. In the meantime 7 is a very civilised time to start and in case you don’t catch it first time the thrush repeats everything which helps to tell their song from the blackbird’s. In The Fieldguide to the Birds of NZ, the song is described “chitty-choo chitty-choo, oo-eee oo-eee….”, each phrase repeated. But never dull.

The tuis are back

Thanks to those who came to my Gardening for Birds talk on the weekend – thought you’d like this little clip to see that the tui is still using my feeder despite pouring rain. The mix I use is 1 tablespoon of sugar to 1 cup of water, although it’ll be a bit more diluted by now!

Kohekohe fruiting

 

 

kohekohe seedI noticed a small orange seed on my doorstep the other day and recognised it as kohekohe (Dysoxylum spectabile). I assume a bird pooed it there so I checked the kohekohe in my back garden to see if the fruit was ripe and as you can see in the pic above it is ripe. I’m not sure it’s being eaten though as there are a number of seeds on the ground below still with the flesh on, meaning they haven’t passed through the gut of a bird. At Shakespear Park recently I saw half a dozen tuis in a kohekohe, presumably there for the fruit.

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My photo doesn’t quite show it but the flower panicles (on left of fruit) sprout out of the woody trunk and branches, not from among leafy new growth. The tree itself is a very lush bright green and, although it needs keeping in check, is not too big for a home garden. The big lush leaves below are my young tree just getting to a good size to help screen out the neighbours.

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Morepork at Tawharanui

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At Tawharanui you often know there is a morepork around because of the great ruckus created by bellbirds, robins, whiteheads and saddlebacks all trying to give it grief. This bird though, was just sitting quietly until I stuck a ladder up the tree next to it to check if the eggs had hatched in a robin nest. I’m not sure how intelligent owls are (outside of storybooks) but I hoped it didn’t notice what I was doing as robin nests are commonly preyed on by moreporks. After a while a few birds did start to harass this morepork but he stayed put, not seeming to care. Often they’ll fly off when I come on them suddenly and always I find the complete absence of sound from the wings of this relatively large bird quite spooky. The soft edges of their primary feathers muffle the air movement off the wing, completely unlike the tui wing feather which is designed to create noise. Look at the scalpel-like shape of the third primary feather on this tui wing and the firm feather edges which explain its excessively noisy flight.

Tui wing feathers (8)

Kowhai flowering

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I was just reading an old birder’s diary entry written after her walk at Wenderholm Regional Park at this time in 1984 “… there were more tuis than we had ever seen at one time before – dashing about in the trees, feeding on the kowhai (flowers), and all the time keeping up an almost ludicrous chorus of assorted noises”. The flowers at Wenderholm (as elsewhere in the area) are at their peak about now attracting perhaps a dozen tuis to one tree. Tuis  travel widely to seasonal food sources and bicker constantly to get their share. But nearby there may be other kowhai empty or with a single tui and I can’t work out why. Any answers?

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