Monday, 11 June 2012

Signs and Wanders

birds on our bird table will become a familiar sight from now on 

Today winter is biting - at the time of writing, a cold rain has chugged in from the darkened sky. I remember when we had kids at school to collect, if it was going to rain, it always seemed to arrive right around three o'clock when school gets out. Lo and behold, today the rain that has been threatening all day, arrives at 2.35 p.m. A few waxeyes made tentative visits to the sugar water on the bird table, but it may not be sweet enough as they didn't seem too fussed today.

You know winter has truly arrived when birds are seeking food closer to human habitation. This morning I heard and saw tuis close to the house, while all around, I could hear the rusty-hinge squeak of wax-eyes - or silvereyes. The Maori name for these tiny birds, is tauhou, meaning 'new arrival' or 'stranger', because unlike the English song-birds, such as the thrush or blackbird, the wax-eyes weren't introduced into New Zealand, but made their own way here around 1832.

You know grandchildren have been when after they've gone you find finger marks on windows and computer screens, soap on the mirror, a chewed muesli bar under a cushion and plastic toys in odd places (like the cowboy which R. found guarding a bowl of nuts and raisins and the turkey I found in the biscuit cupboard).

The yellow leaf is one V. found on the ground on our excursion to the Gardens. She held it between her finger and thumb all the way to the car - through the clammy-aired hot-house where we threw coins into the gold-fish pond and made a wish (she's only two and a half and looked adorable standing with her eyes closed while she made her long and silent wish. Her four-year-old-brother, on another visit there with me, promptly announced aloud in two seconds flat that he'd wished for Buzz Lightning). Next we went through the Cactus House - eerie and slightly menacing in a dry and vacant way - V. still holding the leaf - then past the late roses and to the car.

Once in the car, she continued to hold the leaf the whole journey to my house. I found it on the coffee table after she'd gone back home.

 grey heron

A walk around the inlet on Saturday yielded the shy heron paddling the low-ebbed water to rustle up some food.

agapanthus seed-head

a fern frond retracting - in the background the summer garden-seat we will need to store away in the next few days ...

no winter mud evident on the boots, yet ... 


Di Mackey said...

What would I do without you???

I loved seeing the wax-eyes. And do you know, whenever I see a white-faced heron here (often)it still takes me back to the Inlet and those herons I used to see on my way home to Broad Bay.

Tickets almost booked for December :-) We must do coffee and a good long chat, mustn't we xx

Kay Cooke said...

Di - Yes yes yes - really looking forward to seeing you for that coffee - but you must come round for a meal as well! :)

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