Thursday, 13 September 2007
I got a phone call from the local radio station yesterday wanting a comment on the NZ Falcon that had been seen in the Whakatane Rose Gardens the day before. The DJ said the bird had been recently released from Whakatane bird rescue so I was a little confused as it had been three weeks ago that I'd photographed him. I had looked for him lots since then without any luck so I was interested to hear he had been seen again....and of course I had to go back to see for myself. After a walk around the park all I saw was lots of sparrows and flocks of yellowhammers feeding on the newly spread grass seed, the usual suspects but no sign of the falcon. Then after walking along the stopbank towards the kids playground I saw a man standing near a pohutukawa of about ten foot in height aiming his cellphone camera at the top where I saw the shape of a bird. When I approached I saw the falcon and the man made some comment about what kind of bird it was, "Don't think its a morepork" he muttered. To be honest they are very similar in colouring in parts and they are both raptors so I filled him in as I took photos myself.
It was nearly time to pick Troy up from work so I took as many photos as I could then drove to the Beacon to pick him up. We both went back and as we approached the tree I saw he'd gone then a movement caught my eye. He was on the ground with a sparrow he'd caught and was eating it tearing off bits and now and then wiping feathers from his beak with a foot. I was a little worried about how close we could get. He paid us little attention as he ate and I was thinking of the black cat I'd seen in the bushes about forty feet away! We both took photos, Troys are destined for the Newspaper. I was surprised to see a band on his leg which he didn't have the first time.
I phoned Rosemary Tully from Whakatane Bird Rescue and she told me about this bird. Apparently he was captured at the Whakatane Council (I'm not sure if he'd hit a window or not) but he was very underweight. That was about a week after I'd photographed him. So he was taken in by Rosemary on the 28th August and after putting on weight was later banded H33442 and released from her Taneatua property. Rosemary then went to Wellington and on her return she learned he'd had a spell at the Whakatane S.P.C.A. Apparently a group of workmates were outside Pizza Hut when they saw a flock of sparrows take flight, one sparrow flew into Pizza Hut closely followed by our falcon who ended up with concussion after hitting a window.
Lets hope he gets a little more sense as he matures. I learned from Rosemary that the greenish tinge at the base of his beak and legs indicates he is a juvenile. The males are the smaller of the two sexes but he is a particularly small individual. Great to see he is hunting well and getting enough to eat without having to visit Pizza Hut!
I finished a pukeko painting yesterday. Just a small one on a ten by ten inch canvas but I liked the softness of the colours of the water contrasting with the bold colours of the pukeko. Amazing how many tubes of blue paint you have to open to do a pook justice - Prussian, cobalt, ultramarine and pthalo blue! Still working on my pukeko collage.