Saturday, July 6, 2013

Week ending 7 July

It’s been a good week this week – apart from Blogger somehow deleting last week’s post that is. All that remains is an earlier draft and the comments I received on it. If it wasn’t for the comments I would think I hadn’t published it at all. I’ll have to see if my technical support aka Mr 15 can resurrect it. If not I'll have to try and remember what we did.  I hope it isn't my turn for the problems Theresa had but I fear it might be. This is my second take at drafting this - the first version totally vanished.

Earlier in the week Miss 12 read in the newspaper that a rare bird had been seen at a lake not too far from town. Apparently there are only a couple of  sightings  reported nationally each year. So, we set out a couple of days later – hoping that the mechanic had successfully fixed the problems the car had earlier in the week since I didn't fancy being stranded. We drove to the far end of the lake and slowly made our way back, pulling over to stop at every vantage point we could find. Finally, we saw a group of white birds and thought we spotted “our” bird among them – but they were too far from shore to make a positive identification, even with binoculars. Our frustration was eased when the group flew closer to shore and we were confident we’d found our quarry – until the bird got closer and turned side on. Turned out it was a Royal Spoonbill – a beautiful bird but not the one we’d come to see. So back into the car , more driving and stopping. Finally we were able to make an accurate identification,  but the bird was still too far out for photos and for good viewing. Then it flew off so we drove around the lake in pursuit. Several stops and more pursuits later Miss 12 and I pulled into a viewing lay-by which was full of road workers taking a break. Mr 15 was following on foot but we’d had to run back and retrieve the unlocked car from where we’d left  it. The road guys watched with amusement as we leaped out of the car and sprinted stealthily  (we wanted to get there quickly but we didn’t want to scare it off either) to the lake shore, binoculars at the ready. Success! We’d found our bird! Then disaster as the guys, break obviously over, started up their trucks and other machines and headed back to the job, scaring off the bird. Mr 15 and his camera were still coming through the shrubbery and he hadn’t yet got a decent photo. Fortunately the bird circled back and landed very close to where we were so we got some good viewing and a few photos . 

The bird in question. A Little Egret  similar to but slightly smaller than the White Heron we saw in April.

All in all a great day. We identified 29 different species  and found a few areas to explore at a future date.
On the way home we stopped in to check out the cygnets. It was amazing how much they'd grown in nearly two weeks.

Mr 15 spotted this Kereru (Native Wood Pigeon)

The cygnets are now eight weeks old.

Miss 12 received three new bird postcard this week. The card from Belarus showed a hoopoe, which has very cool head feathers. An owl (we think a Eurasian Eagle Owl) came from the Ukraine and a card with a mystery bird from the Czech Republic. Our challenge for the week is to identify the mystery bird! Combining birds and postcards is working well right now.  I  might rejoin a more homeschooled focused postcard exchange group we were active in a few years ago - maybe try and get cards of birds from all 50 states.

The four postcards we've received in the last two weeks.

Continuing with the bird theme, this was the week of the annual Garden Bird Survey. Our hour's viewing yielded seven species. There's not a lot of variety in our backyard but we did see three chaffinches which was a surprise. We can't recall seeing them on our section before.

Miss 12 and I  spent some time learning about Matariki this week. Matariki is a Maori new year celebration, heralded by the first rising of the Pleiades star cluster. We did a lot of reading and even got up before dawn in an attempt to see the stars for ourselves. Sadly, cloud has stopped us so far, but we’ll try again next week

The big achievement of the week was finishing colouring the mural of Munch's The Scream. It has certainly brightened our entrance way!

 The other main thing we've worked on is a photo essay on post-earthquake life. More technical difficulties (All the photos disappeared! -  Mr 15 has rescued some of them and we're hoping he can recover the rest.) have delayed this, but it should be finished tonight or tomorrow (minus some photos if they can't be recovered). There is always a sense of satisfaction in finishing a big project and Miss 12 is looking forward to finally completing this one.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the bird photos and stories and how your family shares this interest.

    Also, that mural of The Scream is awesome! I LOVE the color choices!

    I am so sorry to hear you had the same issues with Blogger deleting posts! I've been on forums and it seems to happen for no known reason. Thankfully, after happening a few times it has not happened in a while...keeping my fingers crossed for both of us!