The start of the tree lucerne flowering has begun to attract more korimako and tui, and the harakeke seed-heads offer a good place to perch and sing. This harakeke's a long way from my verandah, but with careful technique and heavy cropping of the photograph I managed a photograph I think reflects the attitude of tui. They're wonderful birds. I love them.
Less than a week to go until the official start of winter, and many of the deciduous trees have apparently not realised they're supposed to have shed their leaves. I don't mind, especially when a combination of an approaching thunderstorm and a little leftover sun produce this kind of picture. I was standing on my verandah when I photographed this.
The hare still lives near the hairpin bend on the No. 1 Line road. At least, I'm guessing it's the same hare because it's hard to accept that a different one would have taken over exactly the same spot. I have been known to be wrong on a few occasions, though ;-)
The hillside had been lightly grazed, so the hare had less cover to hide in. Even so, if the evening light hadn't accentuated the hare's colour, I might not have seen it as I drove past. Clearly, it was enjoying the warmth, as several photographs show it with its eyes half closed. It seemed unperturbed, even when I got out of the car and crossed the road for a slightly closer photograph.
I'm not keen on photographing captive animals, and, as a rule, I'm not keen on animals being kept captive, although I accept that's sometimes desirable. Around here, however, the chances of even seeing one of Aotearoa's endemic parakeets, let alone managing a photograph, is on a par with winning Lotto. (I have actually seen kakariki in the Ruahine Range on several occasions, years ago. Unfortunately, I haven't won Lotto. Yet.)
However, the aviaries in the Palmerston North esplanade offer a chance to see kakariki up close, so I stopped by this morning and photographed this bird through the heavy mesh. Careful processing got rid of the inevitable, strong haziness caused by the out-of-focus mesh.
Mainland Aotearoa has two species of oystercatchers: the South Island Pied oystercatcher, known to the bird nuts as SIPOs; and this one, Torea pango (literally, 'black oystercatcher'), which also goes by several other names. A third species is found only on New Zealand's Chatham Islands and is critically endangered, with a population of roughly 300 birds.
'Variable oystercatcher' might be the most accurate common name, because although many have entirely black plumage like this bird, others have varying amounts of white and some closely resemble SIPOs. They're found only in New Zealand, and the total population's likely to be about 4–5000 birds.
Because I live inland, I seldom get to see these delightful birds, and it's always a thrill to see them when I'm visiting the coast near Wellington. This one cooperated nicely as I photographed it from the car at Point Howard, at the head of the harbour.