Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

This Pukeko is one of this seasons chicks. I guess in bird terms he or she is now a teenager. It wasn’t that long ago that they we re little balls of black fuzz making a racket for Mum or Dad to hurry back with the food! Now they’ve nearly gotten all of their adult plumage and they’re off ‘hunting’ there own bread!

These birds are native to NZ and are common on the roadsides in both country and urban areas. They are also known by the name of ‘swamp hens’ and their cousins in other countries have similar names.

We’re off the RAINBOWS END tomorrow….wahooo! Rainbows End is a theme park in Auckland with lots of rides and NZ only corkscrew roller coaster….wahoo again! I will be sure to post many photos:)

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Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

It’s not hard to see why I love Pohutakawa Flowers so much!  These huge native trees are very common in coastal NZ and as they flower during the summer months they are often called “NZ’s Christmas Tree.”  It’s not just people who love Pohutakawa’s, the bees love them as the top photo shows and so do many species of birds and even Monarch Butterflies. It’s hard to imagine a  NZ without these trees and thanks to a law protecting them it’s not likely we’ll have too- anyone caugtht damaging theses trees, even pruning them without permission is in big trouble!

Watching me take the photos of the mosaics below was this black bird…and he allowed me to take his too!

So much for the number 13 being bad luck! I’m a huge bird fan and  I feel truley priveleged to have gotten this photo. I would have been very happy just to have gotten photo’s of the nest, so the birds are like striking gold!

I’m still learning to use my new Nikon D40x which means I am still prone to making basic mistakes. It’sfrustrating in some ways (ok, many) and I could have spent much longer at the nest attempting to get perfect photos. However the birds themselves are more important to me and I decided to respect there space and back off. Mother bird flew away when I came by and I didn’t want to be responsible for her not coming back!

The only other time that I can recall seeing baby birds as young as these was when I was a kid and I found a nest that had fallen from a tree, the almost featherless still birds inside. I’d just gotten off the school bus so took off my sweatshirt to wrap up the birds and then took the whole lot home in my lunch box! Guess it was a sign of things to come!

INTERNATIONAL BLOG ACTION DAY…I just read this great post about not letting the burst of enthusiasm you may have felt on blog action day fade away. The writer says that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ and encourages readers to commit to doing something about poverty. Don’t let the dust settle around you! Remember…Acknowledge it and then take ACTION!

Click on any image to see it larger than it appears here- around 4 times bigger!

Down at the pond with the kids I noticed the commotion caused by a pair of NZ dotterels who for some reason have taken exception to the Pukeko’s. Normally both the Dotterels and Pukekos happilu co-exsist however NZ Dotterels breed from August through to Janurary and most likely have either eggs or young to be protective of. I don’t know what the Pukeko had done but it was definately being told off! You can see both birds in this pic although the lily pads make suprisingly good camoflage!

The lush green foliage at the front right of this photograph is Native Flax, or Harakeke as it is know in Maori. I took a few macro shots of it while there, one of which is at my shutterchance blog if you wish to take a look!

Yesterday while walking back to the school to pick my kids up I stopped and took photo’s of these beautiful Tui’s. They are quite big birds and make a lot of noise chasing each other about and flirting madly! There’s so many Tui’s around at the moment and I am very pleased to have gotten some photos.  There’s no way to get a better vantage point for these photo’s as the tree is so tall but I guess the height and the relative saftey it offers is a big part of why there are so many Tui’s! It is certainly not the only Kowhai tree around in full flower right now. I’d never noticed how many Kowhai there actually are in Greerton until this Spring, Greerton is much better known for it’s Cherry trees. There’s an annual cherry blossom festival complete with the Miss Cherry Blossom Beauty Pagent and a Spring themed photo competition. Of course I entered! I am not sure how I placed but I will post a copy of my entry when I do:)

Under the canopy of Pink. Nobody knows how to decorate like Mother Nature!

Those of you who have visited my blog before will know that I am very happy with this shot! It is super cropped from a big/high resolution photo but I am still happy!

I took this at Yatton park, home of the many Autumn trees I posted in Autumn (who would have guessed! lol.) It is equally wonderful in spring. Rhodohendren’s and Magnolia’s are in full bloom and the birds are out of their winter hideaways. I had a fantastic time walking around under huge trees and soaking up the sounds of bird song and bird activity. Tui’s are plentiful now, a pair of them flirted with each other so close to me that I heard their wings flutter and I felt privleged to be able to witness there activity.  Fantail’s which are known for their friendly nature ‘chip-chiped’ from trees seemingly oblivious to me. If I was quiet enough I could even hear the blackbirds scratch about in the leaf litter. Time ran out on me and I was more than eluctant to return to my car. I didn’t get a good photo of the Tui’s (too fast for this shutterbug!) but with patience I am sure I would have gotten the photo I wanted. I will return!! The experience of being out in that environement has both calmed and charmed me! The other reason for my blissful state of mind is that I FINALLY have my new camera! Wahhhhoooo! No more spots for me! I am still getting used to it but I am a quick learner so watch this space!!

Lisa:)