August 26, 2013 … a very splendid day in the park

Yesterday was special.

Misty morning in the valley

What do they do in Upper Hutt to generate all that mist?

Out in the valley, there was some morning mist flowing down from Upper Hutt to create an ink-wash effect. The forecast, however was for mainly fine weather.

Mary and I had decided the previous day to visit “Zealandia”  formerly known as the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. We followed the path down to the wetlands beside the lower dam, and were fortunate to see some net building in progress. A pair of pied shags have chosen a site in tree near the walkway to make their home for the season. While the male goes out to gather suitable construction materials, the female does all the weaving and construction. As the male arrives back on the water near the nest the female get excited and throws back her head and squawks. The male with the mouthful of twigs or weed emerges, dripping, from the water, scrambles up onto the nest and then stands on her back to hand over the precious cargo.

Pied shags nest building ritual

I can only presume this to be a display of dominance

As on some previous occasions, as we went around the tracks, I began to think there was not much happening, and even in the “discovery area”, where I would normally hope for a great variety, a solitary bellbird made an appearance. It was a handsome specimen so I was pleased with that.

Belbird with blue pollen

The green plumage is not spectacular but the bellbird’s pure notes are just beautiful

However, the further we went up the valley, the fewer people there were around us, and the louder the chorus of birdsong became. Tuis were everywhere. A few kaka (parrots) were making a lot of noise, but the real characters of the day were the North Island robin.

North Island robin (1)

Such a delicate little bird

Everywhere we went they came close. It seems that as we walk, we stir up insects, and they are eager to cash in on the bounty. These tiny birds are very brave and at times were within inches of our shoes.

North Island robin (1)

A quick shake of the wings for exercise

A brief appearance by a saddleback was another highlight. These handsome birds have a lovely patch of rust-red colour across their backs, and are among the few coloured birds in the new Zealand Bush. On the other hand, as the All Blacks demonstrated in Wellington on Saturday night, mastery of your craft is more effective than a gaudy colour scheme (sly grin).

Saddleback (Tieke)

This was the only saddleback I saw, and it was high in the canopy above me.

On the way out of the park, we saw a few Tuatara, but for my purposes the little coloured beads added by the scientists for identification and tracking tends to spoil any images. It was a delight then to see a very tiny juvenile (about a fifth of its adult size) which has yet to be marked.


The littlest dinosaur


Tomorrow may be less picturesque, but let’s find out about that tomorrow.







About wysiwygpurple

I am a family man, a passionate amateur photographer and a retired academic . What's the purpose of this blog? Well in the first instance it provides me with a platform from which to resume writing, an activity I greatly enjoy. What will the blog be about? Anything that takes my fancy but it is likely to arise from things I see and experience, in my family, in my travels, or anything else I feel like. Each daily post will contain one or more images made the previous day. Sometimes the image will illustrate the points made in the prose, and sometimes the prose will attempt to interpret the image. What kind of images will they be? Always safe for work and family. Usually they will be representational, and sometimes they will be impressionistic or experimental.
This entry was posted in Birds, Landscapes, Light, Lower Hutt, Zealandia. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to August 26, 2013 … a very splendid day in the park

  1. Mona says:

    Beautiful Landscape……..

  2. Ellen says:

    Hard to choose. All so good.
    I think that saddleback is pondering his predicament.

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