Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week Ending 12 April 2015

On Monday morning Miss 14 departed for her ornithology camp - a departure that was not without hiccups. After the alarm went off at 7am I called Miss 14 and then went to the kitchen to feed the dog and cat and start breakfast. After a while I glanced at the clock on the microwave - 6:15. What? Then the dawning realisation. Daylight savings ended the day before and dh had neglected to alter the alarm clock in our room. As it turned out the extra hour was advantageous. Since we were ahead of schedule we headed to the airport early. Mr 17 dropped us off. When Miss 14 went to check in the airline staff refused to let her do so until she could prove she was over 12 (and thus entitled to fly unaccompanied). We had no proof on us since it had never been asked for on any of her previous flights. Luckily we live fairly close by and Mr 17 was able to grab her birth certificate and speed (not quite literally but I suspect he was pushing the limit!) back and drop it off, meaning we were able to get her checked in with just 5 minutes to spare! Miss 14's flight was only an hour and she was going to text me when she had met up with the people (strangers to us but relations of a friend) who were putting her up for the night and transporting her to where she needed to go the following day. After an hour and a half I'd heard nothing. A check online revealed her flight had arrived early but a text to her didn't get a reply. About 45 minutes later the land line rang - Miss 14 saying she had arrived but couldn't text since she couldn't find her phone. We later located it in the car. She also said rough weather was forecast and they'd had to change the venue for at least part of the camp since the ferry wouldn't transport them until the weather improved. All-in-all not a promising start.

Thankfully the rest of the week went much better. Except the weather that is - it rained 90% of the time every day bar the last one! Still she had a fantastic time with two days on one island and three on another. Both are predator-proof scientific reserves which play an important role in the conservation of many of our endangered species. Before the camp started her hosts took her to an urban wildlife sanctuary where predator proof fences have enabled a variety of native wildlife to flourish within the city.

All up she saw 17 new bird species for the year. Ten of them she'd never seen before at all. She especially enjoyed all the practical, hands-on activities -  catching, banding, measuring and monitoring. She also enjoyed the evening card playing sessions and was awarded a prize for "Best Poker Face"!

This island was home for a couple of nights.

A Fluttering Shearwater being processed. This camp gave her hands-on experience with seabirds which she hasn't had before.

A Yellow-Crowned Parakeet about to be banded. She'd never seen one of these in the wild before, although our local wildlife park has a captive population.

A North Island Robin. We've seen the similar South Island Robin before, but this one was a first for her.

The Kaka (or Bush Parrot) has always been one of Miss 14's favourites.

We get fantails in our backyard but they are constantly flitting about and thus hard to photograph. So she was quite pleased with this shot.

This is a Sooty Shearwater chick. These shearwaters nest in burrows on one of the islands. While the parents were feeding at sea the chicks were removed from their burrows, weighed, measured and banded before being returned. This was one of Miss 14's favourite activities even though one of these cuddly looking chicks gave her a nasty scratch and two others relieved themselves all down her front. She was the only one in her group to suffer this fate! Birds obviously don't enjoy being removed from their burrows. Her other battle scar is a bite mark from a Little Blue Penguin which she'd just removed from its burrow.

A Takahe. These birds were once though to be extinct until being rediscovered. in 1948. Their conservation status is critical and they are heavily monitored.You can see the antenna of this bird's transponder.

She even spotted this eagle (complete with Gandalf) in the airport terminal while waiting for her flight home!

All-in-all a fantastic bird-related week for Miss 14.

Linking Up with the Weekly Wrap-Up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


  1. I really enjoyed the photos! What an exciting opportunity and week!

  2. As I sit and watch our birds at our feeder I always think of you and wish I had you and your daughters knowledge!! I can only identify a few. I do look them up but always forget them!! I always love seeing your birding pictures Sandra. :)

  3. It looks like it was an awesome experience--but I can imagine the angst you must have felt being far away, not hearing from her, then hearing about all these hiccups--I am glad it all worked out!!!