03 December 2010

Harakeke (NZ flax) flowers

The harakeke (New Zealand flax; Phormium tenax) has begun to flower here, bringing a feast for bees, both native bees and the introduced honeybees, and birds, particularly tui and korimako. However, the long, tubular flowers mean the nectar's not easy to extract unless one has the right kind of beak and tongue (like tui) or are small enough to crawl down the tube (like the native bee seen here). Otherwise, it's a case of trying to mop up what might have dribbled within reach, or forcing oneself as far down the tube as possible (the honeybee approach).

[2 December 2010, Canon 20D, 300 mm f4 L IS, ISO 200, 1/125 at f8] 

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor


Paul said...

Bokeh has a great effect. Might I comment on this lovely photo that it’s too bad the depth of field couldn’t have captured the whole of the flower.

Barbara said...

Industrious bees always make me smile, as did the links to revisit your 'portrait' of the korimako. Around here the trees have lost many, if not all, of their leaves. The vegetation and pathways are carpeted with that castoff. All the seasons, all the time ;0

pohanginapete said...

Paul, thanks. I agree about the DOF and in hindsight could probably have stopped down further. I was worried that the background would, if more in focus, have been distracting, but probably had more leeway than I thought.

Thanks Barbara. It's hard to imagine the other seasons right now — we're in the middle of a spell of unusually hot weather, with more forecast. Even looking at photos from the other side of the world doesn't make me feel cooler — just a little more grateful ;^)

leonie said...

One of the most wonderful sounds on the planet - the call of the Tui.

pohanginapete said...

Perfectly said, Leonie. Thank you.

reirangi said...

A great shot of the flowers and one of its associates. I am reminded of a beautiful Maori saying; Hutia te rito o te harakeke, Take away the flower shoot of the flax, Kea hea te korimako e ko? Where will the korimako perch to sing? E ai ki koutou, I say to you all, He aha te mea nui o te ao? What is the most important thing in the world? He tangata He tangata He tangata! It is people it is people, it is people!

This is kryptic and not anthropocentric, like I first thought. It is people-humans only that have the capacity to maintain the natural environment of this planet.

pohanginapete said...

Reirangi, thanks for reminding me of those beautiful sayings. I have to be careful about the interpretations, particularly for the second, because I have no Mãori whakapapa; nevertheless, I think it's important to try to understand the extent to which Mãori consider themselves part of the land (and v.v.). — the person and the land are not separate but part of the same entity.
    However, I do think it's drawing a long bow to argue only humans can maintain the natural environment. Life on Earth flourished for many millions of years before we arrived, and our unfortunate legacy might be what many now refer to as the sixth great extinction. In this respect, perhaps we are indeed the most important thing in the world, but not because of our ability to look after the natural environment (a slippery term, particularly if we consider ourselves part of it), but because of our capacity to ruin it. Perhaps if more of us took to heart the first of those sayings you mention, the planet would be in much better condition.
    Thanks for the thoughts :^)