Sunday, 21 October 2012

Bludgers in the bird world

An interesting observation this Sunday afternoon. Tui was chasing a Fantail out of the trees at the eastern end of the house. I growled at it and wandered off to return a bucket  to the garage and Tui arrived at the totara trees where last year  we had sparrows nesting. This year we discouraged them by removing the nests as they were building them,  as sparrows are really a nuisance around the house and the B&B.
As Tui flew into the tree a sparrow was clearly agitated and was trying to keep the Tui away. Looking up I saw a nest and was thinking it may belong to Tui.
It did not, and what I saw made me smile, one bludger taking from another.
Sparrows are known by most as the rats of the sky and will scrounge food from anywhere and are very hard on the stick insects. However,  they can eat all the cicadas they want as they do quite a bit of damage to the fruit trees in this area.
So back to Tui. Tui saw the nest of material that would obviously suit its nest and wound itself around the branch and stole a great beak load of material from sparrows nest.
Then the tenacious Sparrow chased off after Tui. I guess it was going to try and get the nest material back. Good luck Sparrow.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Our Wetland

This is our Wetland viewed from our lounge window. Especially in the morning we can hear Matata from the deck where I took this photo.

Pahi and the Kaipara Harbour

Toady we went to Pahi about an hour from Ngunguru to go on a boat trip on the Kaipara Harbour. At 11am we caught the Kewpie Too for a four hour trip into history. The Kaipara is a massive harbour on the West coast of Northland and was vital in earlier times for transport into and out of the region prior to rail and roads.

 The once timber lined hills are now pasture with small and a few larger tracts of bush. Still, it has a story, and it is one worth listening to as it is ingrained into so much of Northlands culture with its timber, transport and fishing history. Its is also very scenic

At Pahi there is a huge Mortan Bay Fig. Read below.


The New Season

Everything is happening at once. Kingfisher is nesting down by the road. The first fantail chicks were seen being fed by their parents this week as well as the first Gray Warbler chicks. They are right up beside our deck in the Kanuka trees. We again look forward to a summer of birds about us. Fantails have up to five clutches in one summer. The poor things. They get quite tatty by the end with all the hard work. Last summer a guest counted 15 fantails in a moment from the deck.

Ruapekepeka Pa

Northland is the beginning of New Zealands history. Soon after battles started between Maori tribes and not long after that, more battles erupted between Maori and the new settlers, the English. Ruapekapeka Pa and the nearby English fort is the last place in Northland of battle between the English and Maori.
"Ruapekapeka Pa Historic Reserve encompasses the pa, and advanced and main British positions from which the battle was fought. The ditch and bank defences of the pa are still visible along with one of Kawiti’s cannon and the well which supplied water to the defenders. The earthen defences of the advanced British position are also still visible."

This was the first Trench Warfare ever encountered by English forces. Google Ruapekapeka. It is a very interesting story.
All that aside. from the Pa is one of the most stunning views in Northland. One can see from coast to coast and for miles to the north.
At the South West end of the Pa at the top of the hill a track takes one to the huge ancient Puriri Tree. There is a grove of very old, very large puriri. This is a must see. One tree is 1.85m diameter and very tall for a Puriri. This and the rest are the largest I have seen and possibly the larget remaining. Definately pre human occupation.