Sunday, 15 March 2009

Frogs, Eels, Banded Rails & Spoonbills.

Last Tuesday I was on the stopbank by the skate park and heard frogs. I ventured down the boardwalk to the small pond behind the supermarket carpark and there, on a small log sat the most georgous brownish green frog, very fat and well camouflaged! I took some photos then realised there was another frog sitting on the other end of the log. A lovely green frog with intriguing patterns in its back - a face? I've always loved frogs & as a kid I kept many as pets. Disturbing to hear reports their numbers are in decline due to global warming or pollution so great to find these two!

Another creature I love is the eel and I often see them cruising the edge of the river. I know for a fact the herons love eels also although in a different capacity! I have more than once witnessed a shag or heron pull a young eel out of the water, the bird then faced with the difficulty of trying to swallow its catch while the eel has wrapped itself tightly around the birds bill! Catching them is the easy part - swallowing them presents a whole new set of difficulties.

I was amazed to spot a pair of banded rails down on the mudflat! Very timid birds and I got a couple of pics but only from a distance, they were quick to spot me and ran for cover.

AND the best news of the day was that the spoonbills are back. Well the first pair anyway. The most we had last winter was seven with a usual total of three or four. They arrive at least a month before the Kotuku and stay about a month longer. I am expecting a pair to stay in the area to breed before too long since they have begun to breed in other areas of the country rather than restrict themselves to Okarito. These two looked in wonderful condition with glossy white plumage.

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