Tuesday, 30 August 2011

first touch of spring

Today Judi spotted a clump of flowering clematis below the house. Jude H also saw some up at number 5. Clematis seems to herald the start of spring in the forest. It gives the same warm feeling as frolicking lambs and daffodils! A couple of warm and sunny weeks have resulted in a burst of growth from the shrub layer with the olearias, five fingers and so on all showing fresh new growth.
Bird activity has increased with plenty of tui, kereru, fantail, grey warbler, tomtit, silvereye and bellbird activity. Kingfisher have returned to the forest and californian quail have been calling from the gorse paddocks. Rosella have been noisy. Most days harriers have been displaying high over the forest. It is usually their calls that attract attention but once located their slow motion flight with swooping dives is visually spectacular.
The large number of stoats trapped this month has given the harriers an easy source of food. They seem to be able to locate the dead animals although I am unsure if they are overturning the traps to get at them. Whilst it is good that we are catching stoats it does suggest that they must be numerous through the estate which is depressing. We have caught a few possums near the house although we have not seen a lot when driving through the estate at night.
Judi and I went up to Stony Bay on the 19th. There were NZ dotterel in most bays with more than 40 birds at Colville Bay. Nearby was a fully albino Oystercatcher with bright white plumage, pink legs and a red eye. It was very striking contrasting with other roosting variable oystercatchers. I am uncertain whether full albinism is frequent in oystercatchers. Other interesting birds were a sizeable flock of about 40 pateke (brown teal)  loafing at the mouth of the Umangawha Stream in the bay.
We have received the estate kiwi report from Patrick Stewart so once I have reviewed this I will circulate the highlights via this blog.

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