After yesterday's sunshine , this morning was the complete opposite , grey , dank and miserable , and with visiting this afternoon , will not make it out today , so am posting a few shots from our recent NZ trip to visit our daughter .
We stayed in Kerikeri , just inland from the Bay of Islands , a fruit growing area , with semi tropical conditions . From the decking across the back of the house , I recorded 23 species of birds , many of them introduced species from UK . These included Blackbird , Song Thrush , House Sparrow , Chaffinch , Goldfinch , Skylark , Greenfinch , Yellowhammer , Starling , Pheasant and Grey Wagtail . Another introduced species , but not from UK , was the Australasian Harrier , which were seen most days in numbers varying from 1-4 , including a juvenile , but never getting really close enough to get the shot I wanted . The lawned area below the decking always had either Blackbirds or Song Thrushes searching for worms , to feed their young , who could be heard in their nests in the conifers that divided the gardens . Whenever scraps of bread were thrown down , House Sparrows were on the scene in seconds , but sometimes the food attracted some of the native birds , like these Silvereye , about the size of our Redpolls . Also attracted were another introduced species , from the Indian sub continent , Mynha birds . They seemed to arrive in gangs and terrorised and bullied the other species . Anything up to 15/20 could appear out of nowhere . Along the bottom of the garden , just above the small stream , where not much gardening took place , wild Arum Lillies were coming into flower , it being the start of Springtime in the Southern Hemisphere .
On trips out with the grandchildren , hardly birding trips , but another 15 species of birds were recorded , including this family of Paradise Duck . Mother at the top with the white head , father bottom left and two very young ducklings . As soon as the female saw me , she became very vocal and sent the youngsters one way into bankside cover , whilst she and the drake tried to lead me off in the other direction . Some more shots of this species to come in the future .
I was hoping to see some butterflies during the visit , but it was a bit early in the season , although I did see the odd 'white' and a small White Admiral type fly by on a couple of occasions . As the Harriers just appeared from nowhere , I usually had my camera close to hand . I was glad of this one day when my daughter and I were removing some very large rocks from three 'rock features' , put in by a previous owner . In the same area as the 'rock features' were a Lemon , Orange and Grapefruit tree . Whilst working , something landed in the Orange tree , which was in blossom . I went over to see what it was , then ran for the camera , hanging on the fence . The 'something' turned out to be a beautiful Monarch butterfly , with a wingspan of about 10 cms . I got a couple of shots , then it flew off , only to flutter around and return to the Grapefruit tree and continue nectaring . This happened two or three times , allowing me to get about 20 shots , before it must have had it's fill and went on it's way . Two other Monarchs were seen during the stay , but they were both flyovers , disappearing from sight in seconds on those large wings . Thank goodness the other one stopped to refuel , and give the photo opportunity .
More from NZ in the future .
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