Friday, 24 July 2009

Kereru from the lookout

At this time of year I like to visit the lookouts above the Whakatane township and photograph the big fat local woodpigeons that hang out there. I have only just today found out the names of these places from which says, "The Puketapu Lookout was once an ancient Maori fortification and it now provides superb views of the town, river, sea and offshore islands and the Rangitaiki Plains. The Papaka Redoubt is also the site of an ancient Maori fortification. Here the Armed Constabulary built a stronghold to protect the town after it had been raided by Te Kooti in 1869. Access to both these tracks is at the intersection of Seaview and Hillcrest Roads above the town centre."

At this time of the year when berries and other food sources are in short supply the woodpigeons favour the blossoms of tree lucerne, a number of which grow at the Lookouts. Or at least used to grow there. I was disapointed to discover a grove of large Tree Lucerne had been cut and the woody trunks left where they fell up at the Puketapu Lookout. A few of the trees remain growing further down the cliff and there was a Kereru feasting on the white flowers among these. And at the Papaka Redoubt there were few of the trees left also, most cut down when they built the new fence I suppose but I must say I am disapointed with the council.

After watching the Kereru absolutely stuffing themselves on the white flowers last year I have to admit I was convinced to try them myself but actually they were pretty tasteless and I can't say I'd reccomend them. Must be a pigeon thing.
The other morning while taking Billy the WonderDog for a walk I found these groovy looking little toadstools. I thought they made interesting photographic subjects but unlike the Tree Lucerne flowers I was NOT tempted to give these little babies a taste test!!!

Monday, 13 July 2009

White Tui, Albino Slug

Its mid-July and I am SO over winter!!! Mind you I've had a yucky cold, not swine flu exactly but it feels like almost piglet status. I had an email yesterday that cheered me up tho. Firstly let me go back to my very first blog - August 12 2007. I had just photographed the most beautiful bird, a rare white tui in a friends garden in Opotiki. Not an albino but a melanistic mutation called leucism. We speculated from her size she was a female and she was feeding on the nectar of a row of flowering cherry trees among numerous other black tuis. The following year she returned to the same feeding spot although not with the same regularity so I wasn't able to get any more shots of her.
Back to yesterdays email from friends Mike and Meg, they photographed the white tui in their garden on the weekend. I was pleased to learn she is still alive and well, perhaps this coming cherry flowering season I'll be lucky enough to catch up with her again.

Here are Micks photos of her.

And just as interesting, Mike sent me photos of this AMAZING albino slug he found in the Ohiwa reserve in January. The usual form is brown with leafy vein-like patterns on its back.

It brings back memories of a pet slug I once had. His name was Tiger (he was a Tiger Slug, not very original I know!) I was living in a little three roomed house, actually a converted tractor shed, on the Waioeka straights. I kept somewhat nocturnal habits at the time and painted til about 3 or 4 in the morning. Tiger would come in under my door at about 11pm for his dinner - avocado, cottage cheese or salmon (unsalted) served in his little bowl which was really a coke bottle lid. I had some great photos of him that I lost when my old computer karked it. Unfortunately I almost lost him when he got too close to my computer chair and I accidentally backed over him one night. He survived but had a terrible limp after that. On a happier note he later turned up with his young fella, a baby tiger slug. Then I moved house and never saw him again. (TRUE STORY!)

I have to say thanks to all those who leave comments on my blog (wow people really read it!) but I have to apologise for not knowing how to reply. I'm technologically challenged which comes from overuse of the creative side of my brain, the other side has shrivelled and is of very little use at all. Perhaps someone can give me some pointers.