From our bedroom we look into the canopy of one of the tall rata in the valley below. As it came into flower the resident tui became increasingly defensive and belligerent. Prolonged singing was punctuated by aerial chases after other tuis, bellbirds and silvereyes if they dared enter the canopy.
The tui's world has calmed down at the moment following a very good breeding season. We had a nest in the tawa (Beilschmiedia tawa) above the house but I never managed to work out how many young they successfully fledged although we regularly had young birds pestering their parents for food. Many species seem to have had a particularly good breeding season this year with bellbirds successfully raising numerous young and more than one brood. The young bellbird's incessant squeaking contact call takes on a 'dripping tap' dimension. Once you are aware of the call it drives you to distraction. Such constant calling might at first seem counter intuitive as it provides an obvious target for predators. However if you attempt to find the source of the call you soon realize what ventriloquists they are. Even when you can see the bird the call seems to come from everywhere.
Silvereye are another species that has had a good breeding season. Flocks of at least thirty birds have been feeding in the low canopy around the house often bringing fantail, grey warbler, tomtit and bellbird with them. Five finger berries, and the insects they attract, are a favourite target and at times the bushes have been alive with juvenile silvereye calling and vibrating their wings in anticipation of their parents providing food.
|One of our resident moreporks|
The forest this spring and summer has been a far cry from the silent bush of the past. I will cover our recent experiences of predator control and successes with our rare endemics in future blog posts.