Sunday, 18 November 2007

Californian Quail, Baby Hedgehog

Had a busy weekend. I spent Saturday in Opotiki helping Dad out on his stall at the Trash or Treasure day. I drove over on Friday afternoon and stopped at the Nukuhau Saltmarsh on the way. It was drizzling slightly so not the best for photography. I was delighted to see two pairs of fernbirds near the boardwalk. Both it seemed were collecting insects to take back to a nest somewhere.

On Saturday afternoon I drove home and pottered about in the garden. We have a resident pair of californian quail and I got some nice shots of the male perched on our fence keeping watch as his mate fed on the lawn below.

On Sunday Troy and I went to visit my cousin Pauline and her husband Bruce. Their daughter Michelle showed me a hedgehogs nest that their dog Mitzi had discovered. The Mother hedgehog was half buried in some dry vegetation at the base of a bush and she was feeding four babies. I know they are pests due to their unfortunate appetite for the eggs and babies of ground-nesting birds but we picked up one of the babies to photograph and it was SO CUTE! a funky kind of way. Punk style hairdo and a wrinkly little Ewok face. The spines at this stage are really quite soft. After this little guys photo shoot he began to squawk so we quickly put him back with his mum and he took no time at all getting back to the milkbar.
His eyes weren't even open yet. I guess they need to have soft spines when they are born so the Mother doesnt have any more than the usual pain experienced at childbirth (not that I'd know!) Conception is another matter entirely one would assume. Perhaps the hedgehog is into the whole pain thing in the bedroom just like some couples are into whips and spurs etc........ now I'm just sinking to anthropomorhic tendancies. But enough about that. By the way, these photos are Troys.
Oh and last week I had a surprise one evening when we got home from work. Troy stopped on the side of road opposite our drive so I could get out and empty the mailbox. He turned in to our entranceway on the other side of the road and waited for me to open the gate. I was walking across the road towards his car when a falcon flew between the stationwagon and myself and dropped into the empty drain that runs parallel to the road. This drain is about eight feet wide and about five foot deep. The falcon was using it as cover and flew level with the road like a little jet fighter. I watched it until it disapeared quickly from sight. I think if we hadn't just been to visit Wingspan a few weeks ago I may not have been sure what I had seen but it was definately a falcon and this was confirmed the next evening when I saw it try to catch a bird in our apricot tree. It was unsuccessful and took off across the paddock towards the neighbours where I saw it fly up and over the hedge and out of sight. Perhaps one day I will get a chance to photograph it. Here's hoping!

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