Friday, 28 July 2017

Of birds and frogs!

We are now past mid-winter (surely?). I have been away for a couple of weeks in the UK (not much difference in the weather even if it is their summer!). It is nice to be home and I already notice the mornings are lighter. There are also lots of birds around with today's count at a very respectable 40 species. The highlights were the common myna, which I know is an invasive species and I am not supposed to like it but I do. The population in Foxton is a bit of an anomaly and I think the southern most one on the North Island.


Also a treat was a close up of a yellowhammer who I always seem to have trouble getting close to. This is where a car comes in useful. This bird was spectacularly coloured. A sure sign that spring is on its way. 

Everywhere I went, there were small groups of goldfinch looking for grass seeds. Again, in my car, I just sat and waited for them to get close to me. This bird was quite orange on the head.

On my way back from my morning walk I nearly trod on this fellow. A fairly large frog. It wasn't bothered by me and after posing nicely, it hopped on its way. Thankfully it didn't move fast enough for my curious greyhound to take much notice. I think it is a southern bell frog and it was very pretty. 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Cold but already signs of spring

We only get down to a frost here at the beach so it is quite mild. But when the wind whips up the river from the sea, it sure feels cold. It is very quiet on the estuary although I did watch hundreds of red-billed gulls fly down the river late afternoon this week. They flew so close to the water that you could hear their wings hit the water. It was magic, but I didn't have my camera with me. Sometimes it is quite nice just to watch these things in wonder rather than worrying about f-stops.

There is some activity away from the water. The white-faced herons nest in the fir trees next to the tennis courts and playground and they are beginning to court. There are 2 pairs and if you are lucky you can see them rubbing their necks together. It is very endearing, especially as herons are usually so solitary. This pair even treated me to a high wire performance, calling and posturing to each other on the top of the tennis court fences.