Thursday, 18 April 2013
Rain at last
At the moment there are numerous climbing rata still flowering which are proving very attractive to Bellbird. It has been a fantastic period for bellbird song. At times they have been deafening around the house and are still putting on a show now. Tui are not so apparent as earlier in the year when they seemed to be everywhere but they are first-up in the dawn chorus and numbers suggest that they have also had a good breeding season. Kereru are less apparent than earlier in the summer when they were very visible. Often four or five would be in the trees behind the house. It is difficult to gauge whether they have left the estate or are just keeping a low profile.
All of the commoner bush birds have been very active over the warm, still period. Silvereye are currently in large flocks of more than twenty birds and at times the forest has been teeming with them. Fantail and Grey Warbler have also been very evident whereas recently I have only seen or heard the occasional Tomtit and Kingfisher - but they are around. Individual Kaka have flown over the estate and I have heard them at night - presumably returning to the Manaia. We saw a flock of more than six birds in the sanctuary during March. Morepork numbers seem to be high and on one still, warm night I believe that I could hear from the house more than a dozen different birds.
A highlight of the past two months has been male kiwi calling below Bruno and Barbara's and near the estate road at Sebastian and Karen's. Hopefully, we will record female kiwi this winter.
On the butterfly front I have recorded a few Monarch and Blues and a single Red Admiral. The commonest butterfly on the estate is the White. There have been two different species of dragonfly around the house.
Finally, the local newspaper reported the discovery of a flowering wood rose (Dactylanthus taylorii) somewhere on the peninsula. It is New Zealand's only totally parasitic flowering plant and lives on the roots of hardwoods such as mahoe, lancewood and fivefinger - all of which are common on the estate. It flowers between January and May and is pollinated by the short-tailed bat. This was only the second record in one hundred years. Nonetheless we will keep looking. You never know...