After three months in the northern hemisphere we are settled back into the forest. We had a week of fine weather but now we are caught in the polar blast that has brought snow to most of the country. We actually had a sleet shower yesterday and awoke to the first real frost we have experienced up here. The thermometer read -2 at 8.00 this morning and it still feels cold despite sunshine for much of the day.
I spent one evening last week with Patrick Stewart listening for kiwi - without success. However he had heard a male from the 309 which was almost certainly 'Shirley's' bird. In fact Shirley heard it calling the next night so it appears that there are at least two males on the estate with the other near to Sebastian and Karen's.
When the weather was warm and sunny last week the birds were active with several Kereru, Tui, Tomtit and Bellbird around the house. Two pairs of swallow were prospecting in the carport and flocks of silvereye were in the fivefinger. With this bitter weather it is difficult to know what insects the fantails and grey warbler are finding to feed on. A few morepork have been calling at night and harriers have been quartering the paddock and road edges during the day.
Two white goats worked their way through the estate from the hillside beyond Tim and Jude's via the road to the ridge at Harolds. At least two pigs were in the gorse paddock last week. Other animal activity has been limited to a trapped stoat providing sustenance to a harrier and two possums caught by the house.
We spotted the first of the native clematis flowering on a warm slope above the pohutakawa coast but don't expect it on the estate for a few weeks yet.
Hopefully we will have more to report once the weather warms a little and plants begin to flower.