Saturday, April 1, 2017

Week Ending 2 April 2017

I can't believe it's April already and that the year is already 1/4 over. April looks like being a busy month for us but there were only a few noteworthy events this week.

* We finally received word that our accommodation costs will be covered when we have to move out of our home while the inadequate earthquake repairs are fixed. The application went in in November and the repairs were supposed to have been completed by now but the decision regarding accommodation was a long time coming. Now we just have to find somewhere suitable in the budget that's stipulated, and hopefully this long running saga (the first of the large quakes was September 2010) will be over - for us at least.

* Miss 16 and I made two very productive birding trips to a local lake. We weren't expecting much but were surprised to discover some migratory waders that had not yet left on their journey back to the Northern Hemisphere. We saw one bird, a sandpiper, that we struggled to identify. Some research at home had us pretty certain but Miss 16 wanted to try and find it again just to be sure - hence the return trip. No luck relocating our mystery sandpiper but we did spot several others birds of note, including another sandpiper species. That let us confirm our identification of our first bird since it clearly wasn't the same species as this one. We were especially delighted to find a small group of Pacific Golden Plovers moulting into their breeding plumage. Spotting them was one of our birding goals for the year. They look like a totally different species from the birds we saw early in the summer in their dull non-breeding plumage.

Pacific Golden Plover. Left is as they looked in November. Right is as they look now.

Apart from Pacific Golden Plover the other two best birds were Lesser Knots (we hadn't seen any so far this season) and Curlew Sandpipers (our mystery bird)
Miss 16 hard at work. Without her scope the birds would just look like dots in the distance. The white dots are actually a flock of about 240 Wrybill. They are an endemic with a distinctive bill that bends to the right. They breed only in the South Island but most spend winter in the North Island. These ones are gathering at the lake prior to travelling.
Pied Stilts were the most common wader. This is a juvenile on the left and an adult on the right.

* Speaking of birding, we attended the monthly meeting of our local birding group. It was the AGM and I somehow found myself elected to the main leadership position. Actually I knew the nomination was coming but was hoping I could find a way out since I'm not sure I've got the right skill set for the role. Now that I've been elected I guess I'll find out! After the AGM there was an interesting talk about birds, wildlife and evolution on the Galapagos Islands plus an update on one of our endangered bird species. Not good news unfortunately.

* Miss 16 has been extra busy at the gym this week since she agreed to cover classes for a couple of coaches who were snowed under with exams and assignments for university. She also had a health and safety meeting to attend. The good news is she'll be less busy gymwise for the next few weeks since the recreation programme is on a break until May.

*Another week, another tradesman needed. A light bulb blew in one room. No big deal. But then we discovered the lights were out in more than half the house. A check of the fuse box didn't reveal any quick fix so luckily an electrician was able to visit later in the day. A faulty light fitting and a wiring problem were to blame. So we need to decide what sort of new light fitting to get. We've never liked the faulty one anyway and will probably replace the other two of that type at the same time.

* Nothing significant homeschooling wise. We moved on to Stewart English for grammar but everything else is just continuing smoothly and steadily. Not a bad state of affairs at all.

* I continued to make good progress with my various reading challenges during March. I completed a total of twelve books. One counted for the Back to the Classics Challenge, five for the Modern Mrs Darcy challenges, and five for Pop Sugar's Ultimate Reading Challenge. I'm not expecting to finish as many books in April since I've just started The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby - all 828 pages worth!

Linking to Kris's Weekly Wrap-Up and Kim's Homeschool Highlights.


  1. Sounds like an eventful week. I love reading about your birding adventures.

  2. A lovely week. I hope you home is repaired soon.
    Blessings, Dawn

  3. Nice bird of my sons is getting really interested in birds, so it's time I learn a little more to help him out!

  4. I love seeing your bird pictures each week. The plovers have been busy around here lately as well - we've seen plenty of killdeer in our driveways and alongside the road.