Spring is well under way here in the valley. The blossom on many of the fruit trees is well past its peak, new leaves are expanding on many of the deciduous trees, and this morning I watched a thrush gathering a bill-full of earthworms for its insatiably hungry young. I walked to the gate and, on the way back, stopped by a big tarata (lemonwood; Pittosporum eugenioides). The air was full of the sound of honeybees working the pale yellow-green flowers.
Photographing tui on the Massey University campus among the cherry blossom is one thing, but photographing a tui feeding on the native kakabeak (kowhai ngutukaka) at the Pohangina Wetlands is another: somehow intrinsically more satisfying. I'm not entirely sure why. Perhaps photographing the Massey birds, which are habituated to constant human presence, seems too close to photographing animals in a zoo, or maybe the juxtaposition of a quintessentially New Zealand bird and a plant most closely associated with Japanese culture seems slightly contrived.
Pheasants are a not uncommon sight on the roadsides in the valley, but photographing them can be difficult. On Sunday I happened to have the fortunate coincidence of a cooperative driver and a similarly cooperative rooster, and one of the three photographs turned out quite nice.
I love pheasants and never fail to get a thrill of delight when I see one.
Those of you who understood what the man must have felt at the conclusion of Suppositions about a man and his rabbits will be pleased to know at least some rabbits survived (well, at least this one, and possibly all — I've since seen two simultaneously).
This seems to be another Spock rabbit, and although its ears aren't kinked, I wonder whether that distinctive dark nose is a permanent feature or whether it's just wet from feeding after the rain? The former, I hope: I'd like to be able to identify it beyond doubt.
Early spring's an excellent time of year for appreciating tui on the Massey University campus. An abundance of nectar-producing blossom attracts an abundance of tui, and because the birds are habituated to humans, they're easy to approach closely. Yesterday I finally took the time to make some photographs, and because the day was heavily overcast, I didn't have the usual difficulties with the shiny iridescence of the plumage.
More korimako, I'm afraid, but I can't resist these marvellous little birds. On a heavily overcast, dull day, I prowled along the edge of the terrace and encountered this female korimako inspecting the bark of an old kanuka for tasty invertebrate morsels — a change of diet from the more usual tree lucerne nectar.
I loved the scratch and papery rustle of her little claws on the peeling bark as she spiralled up the trunk.