Sunday, June 1, 2014

Week Ending 1 June 2014

The highlight of the week for Miss 13 was being able to make the trip up into the mountains and spotting three new birds for the year - thus exceeding her goal of 85 species by the end of the month, and so moving up a spot in the ebird rankings. Dh was able to join us so it was a nice "family" outing. Given that Mr 21 isn't at home anymore, Miss 19 is busy studying and Mr 16 is often busy with Scouting or other things our concept of family outings is  more abridged than it used to be!

Our drive up was hampered by mist. It looks picturesque here but when it was thick on the road it made driving a challenge, especially on steep, narrow, winding roads. Thankfully it lifted by the time we arrived. I was afraid it would stop us being able to spot any birds at all.





The Kea - New Zealand's unique mountain parrot - was one of the bird's we were fairly certain of tracking down. We saw six and they were a highlight for Miss 13. She's never seen them in the wild before.

Keas are very curious and not afraid of humans.  As they explore things they often engage in behaviours humans don't appreciate. They'll destroy car wipers and peel all the rubber surround away so car windows actually fall out! Thankfully that didn't happen to us!

We loved being being  able to see the birds up so close. Their feathers are gorgeous and in flight you can see the scarlet underwings as well.

There is a lot of native bush in the area and we took several short walks.

On one walk Miss 13 was lucky enough to get this shot of a Tomtit. We've seen them before they but they flit around a lot and she's never managed a good photo before.

On the drive back we stopped at a couple of places with interesting limestone formations. One of the sites was Castle Hill,  where scenes for both The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Lord of the Rings  movies were filmed.

Earlier in the week Miss 13 and I attended the  morning session of a Braided River workshop which was held locally. The focus was especially on braided river birds and we heard several researchers talk about their work - how they conducted it, what they found out and what it might mean for the birds concerned. Hearing about the results of one project that we had helped with (albeit in a minor role)was especially interesting and helped cement the connection between volunteer work, scientific study and conservation efforts. Overall we learnt a lot about the challenges that braided river birds face and the challenges humans face if we want to ensure the survival of several species. With any luck Miss 13 was inspired by the possibilities, rather than daunted by the scale of the problems. If nothing else she hopefully saw first hand the relevance of maths (especially statistics) to birding.  Maybe the useful factor will help temper her dislike of the subject (although I'm not holding my breath!)


One of New Zealand's many braided rivers. After learning about them at the workshop it was good to see several up close on our drive up to the mountains. 

We've also spent a fair bit of time checking out results, photos and even the odd video from the trampoline section of the Australian Gymnastics Championships. New Zealand sent a team over and several of Miss 13's clubmates are competing. She's really excited to see them doing so well - over half have won medals so far. In not so great news one of her friends broke her arm in a training accident this week which really freaked Miss 13 out - brought back all sorts of bad memories of her own accident, although thankfully her friend's injury wasn't as bad. Miss 13's confidence really took a battering though and, with two competitions this month, I hope it recovers soon.

Mr 16 is away this long weekend on a Scout trip. Last year's highlight was knife making which he really enjoyed. This year the focus is on greenstone carving which I'm sure he'll enjoy - although I'm not sure it will be able to compare to knife making.

The library reserve system has been especially kind to me of late and over the past week I've finished three books. May favourite was probably Room by Emma Donoghue. I loved the way the author took us into the totally foreign world of Jack, who has spent all of his life in just one room until he and his mother manage to escape. I also loved Wiley Cash's  This Dark Road to Mercy. Told from the alternating points of view of three characters, young Easter's voice is the one that really drew me in. I also finished Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. I'm never sure I enjoy her novels since are heavy and tend to  focus on the darker side of life - appreciate might be a better word. After that fairly heavy lot I was a little relieved when the library reserve system then sent me two cookbooks I've had on order for a while. I love browsing through cookbooks and trying out new recipes - even if I already have a disorganised collection of more recipes than I'll ever use!

Linking up with Kris' Weekly Wrap-Up





10 comments:

  1. My 9YO really enjoyed your nature pictures; thank you for sharing!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed them. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Wow, your pictures are gorgeous!! Wish I was there :)
    Have a great summer.

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    1. I'll pass your kind comments on to Miss 13 who took most of the photos. We're actually in the southern hemisphere so are just heading into winter. Hope you enjoy your summer though.

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  3. What a great trip and how nice to attend the Braided River workshop! I love when kids have exposure to real science that interests them.

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  4. Absolutely beautiful! My older daughter loves nature and animals, she would have loved that hike and seeing those birds. Didn't your husband have something going on with his knee--I guess that is all healed?

    I have not read Room, it is on my list. For years I stayed away from anything depressing, but now that you said it was good it is going to the top of my list! I am reading "She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb now, another that I thought would be depressing and is not that bad, I wouldn't say I love it, but I don't hate it and I do want to know what happens.

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    1. Despite the seemingly depressing subject matter I found Room fairly positive, They escape and despite the difficulties -both Jack and his mother have problems adapting to "normal" life - I was left with the feeling they were going to be okay.

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  5. Great pictures. You guys always go on such great field trips.
    Blessings
    Diane

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  6. I LOVE all your pictures. The mountains look so lovely. I hope she does so well in her trampoline competition. I can't wait to see pictures. I am going to check out the books you mentioned. I am ALWAYS looking for something good to read.

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    1. No pictures from this competition. She did claim a placing in both her events though. There are pictures form a competition earlier this year here - http://schoolofserendipity.blogspot.co.nz/2014/04/week-ending-13-april-2014-fitting-it.html

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