Sunday, September 8, 2013

Week Ending 8 September

The main highlight of the week  came on Monday with a trip to a local wildlife reserve. Miss 12 wanted photos of her favourite bird, the kaka, to include in a blog post for her online bird class, and this reserve has a pair of kaka on display. The reserve is an eclectic mix  with a big focus on New Zealand wildlife, a large farmyard section with an emphasis in rare breeds, plus a smaller section with exotic animals. Birds were everywhere - we saw over 50 different species and that is not including all the different breeds of domestic poultry.

Our favourite displays were probably the New Zealand native birds. Most of these we haven't seen in the wild, either because they are very rare or because they live in parts of the country where we haven't visited.

Clockwise from top left - Kaka,  Banded Rail, New Zealand Falcon,Morepork, Buff Weka and Kingfisher.

Two New Zealand parrots - the Kea enjoying a bath and the Kaka - and two rare teal - the Campbell  Teal (above) and the Brown Teal  (below with ducklings).

Some of the birds were fairly common.

Others were exotic and far more colourful than most of our native species.

Some of the birds were not especially attractive in appearance or behaviour - but
Miss 12 was still entranced regardless !

We even spent some time enjoying the non-avian animals. The Asian Small Clawed Otters were favourites. They enjoyed their salmon as much as the Ring-Tailed Lemurs enjoyed the sunshine.

Since it seems we can never get enough of things ornithological around here, some of our other activities were bird-related as well. We took a quick trip to check on the swans. We could only spot one of the "cygnets'  - all grown up and more properly known as a juvenile now. The parents seem to have a new nest - on a small island so we haven't been able to get a close look and aren't sure how many eggs are in it - but we don't know what happened to the other juvenile.

This week marked the fiftieth anniversary of the last confirmed sighting (sadly a shooting) of the Eskimo Curlew.  We watched the animated movie  The Last of the Curlews on YouTube which tells the story of this species suspected demise. We also discovered a theatrical interpretation of the same story, involving live actors and shadow puppets which had been presented as a TED Talk. Comparing and contrasting the two made for an interesting discussion.

After a stressful week battling misleading and conflicting information from our insurance company dh and
I were able to get our paperwork together at the last minute and successfully close on the purchase of our house. We were worried we might not be able to purchase it and would have to move (not an attractive prospect in this post-earthquake environment where prices are rising rapidly and housing is in very short supply) so this was a real relief.

The other highlight of the week came on the weekend when  Miss 18, Miss 12 and I made our annual visit to a wonderful visiting craft show. Lots of amazing work to admire and also a chance for the girls to stock up on cardmaking (their major craft of choice) supplies from a vendor who is only in town once a year for this show and carries  supplies we haven't seen elsewhere. Plus, I always treat myself to some wonderful homemade soaps that small good enough to eat. One day I'd like to start making my own but for now I'm happy with this annual treat.

I also enjoyed more signs of spring these week - bluebells blooming in the garden and spotting the first Monarch of the season laying eggs on our swan plants. I just hope the plants hurry and grow more leaves before the caterpillars hatch.


  1. What a fun field trip. Love all the photos.

  2. I am glad the paperwork issues worked out for you and you could close on the house!

    Great photos:) I've never seen some of those species of birds! Wow!