Sunday, 29 September 2013

A quiet Sunday stroll inspecting the progress of the wildlife in their spring rites. There has been a Paradise Shelduck nesting in a hole at the base of a Lombardy poplar tree, and today, on inspection she was gone. It didn't take long, however, before we came across the anxious parent trying to distract us from where she had hidden the kidlets.

On our meanderings, we very briefly saw a bird that appeared to be about 200mm long and was a dark brown. I did manage to catch it on the camera, but unfortunately it wasn't focused and all we can see is a blurred outline, with a wingspan much greater than we thought.

A close examination of our bird books did not relieve our curiosity, so I suppose we will just have to keep revisiting the spot in the hope that we see it again.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

New boarders arrived yesterday. They arrived in a nice red truck driven by Bill. On arrival they were treated to a nice anti-worm and anti-lice pour-on medication before they were allowed access to their room.

Strict rules have been communicated to them, and so far they have behaved;

  • No alcohol
  • No smoking
  • No girls
  • No pets
  • No going out at night
  • Get your own food
Here's the boss! Let's check these rules out.

No parties?

No girls?

Friday, 27 September 2013

I can't help myself! Wood pigeons were a favourite of my father's and they are a favourite of mine also. There was a flock (the group name for pigeons is flight or flock) of them perched in our plum trees  scoffing the young leaves for all they were worth late this afternoon.

They were so engrossed with feeding their faces, they hardly noticed me as I sidled up with the camera.

You'll note an additional page on the tab under "West Bank Witterings" - Fiji Birds. That means that this old bloke has figured out how to add a page to a blog. Didn't I do well! So now I have painted myself into a corner. Do I post photos of the pigeons I saw today on this page, or do I post them on a page especially for NZ birds?

The answer is, of course, that I'll post them here for now, and perhaps add them to a NZ bird page later, 'cos I can't wait!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

This little guy, exactly one year from today will be a teenager!
This photo taken August 2010.

Happy 12th Birthday to our handsome grandson, Cameron.

The green tree just right of centre with the horizontal branches is a Himalayan cedar, planted in 1852. Remember, the settlers only started arriving circa 1842!

As usual, click on the pics to enlarge.

My doctor asked me the other day, "Do you suffer from hayfever?" I told her that I hadn't in the past, but seem to be having some of the symptoms lately. Perhaps the photos above can provide some explanation. Huge clouds of pollen coming off the pinus radiata plantation just a couple of hundred metres away.

It appears, though, that although many people may suffer from pine pollen induced hayfever, thankfully, it does not appear to be a major cause of allergic reactions.

The pollen makes a mess of the car, though, and if you leave it too long, it becomes a bit of a chore to get it off.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Son-in-law Grant, when staying with us in July, borrowed my camera, a Canon  EOS 350D, set it up on the tripod, and waited for the sunrise. Before the sun could get a chance, however, a pair of ducks on their way to breakfast cruised past, and he was fortunate enough to catch them just perfectly, I think. The temperature was 3.1°C, and the dewpoint was 2.8°C,  the difference of only 0.3°, among other things, being the explanation for the mist on the paddocks. For the curious, click on the link for an explanation of dewpoint courtesy of Wikipedia.

My weather station, a Davis Vantage Pro 2 can be seen on the top of a post in the right-hand side of the photo.

As with all the pictures on this blog, click on it to enlarge.

Rural Morning - 4 Jul 2013 - Photo by Grant

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The joys of a New Zealand spring. As I wandered past a couple of hyacinths today, my nostrils were caressed with the perfume of these delightful flowers. Given that my sniffing ability has drastically reduced with advancing age, this was a rather impressive feat, and can only emphasize how powerful it would smell to someone with a fully operational snout!

Another harbinger of spring is the flowering cherry, which normally is a rather drab occupant of the garden, but which redeems itself with a glorious display of pink blossoms, just as we need it, to signal the end of winter.

The Japanese have a children's song, Haru ga Kita - Spring Has Come - the second verse of which, goes:

Hana ga saku
Hana ga saku
Doko ni saku
Yama ni saku
Sato ni saku
No ni mo saku

(Flowers bloom, flowers bloom,
Where do flowers bloom?
Here in the mountains,
Here in the village,
And here in the fields.)

Which about says it all, really.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Our current weather (at 17:20) today.

Our rain started yesterday afternoon along with a brief, and unusual for these parts, thunderstorm. The days are getting warmer, but we are still behind for the aggregated Growing Degree Days (GDD) for the same period in September last year.

For your info, and I am sure you will be thrilled to know,  GDDs are worked out quite simply by taking the maximum temperature for the day, adding it to the minimum temperature for the day, dividing that by 2, and subtracting the temperature that your target organism enjoys - or can grow in. In other words GDD = (Tmax+Tmin)/2 - Tbase. Where Tmax is the maximum daily temperature and is set to 30°C when temperatures exceed 30°C. Tmin is the minimum daily temperature is set equal to 10°C when temperatures fall below 10°C. Tbase is the base temperature for the organism. I am using 5°C as the base temperature at present. The aggregated GDDs graphed as below, show clearly that last September was warmer than this year, to date.

Sorry for the lecture. :)

Friday, 20 September 2013

"I'm here for lunch. What are you here for?"

Whilst Louie was checking out the inside of the woolshed, Percy and Priscilla Pigeon were dining on young and tender plum tree shoots. They get so full and heavy, the branches seem hardly robust enough to support their weight.

"Oi! How close are you coming, man?"

It a quite magic experience, watching the delicate play of light on the feathers of our birds. There is an infinite variety of colours displayed as the angle and intensity of illumination varies.

"What time does the bar open, Boss?"
Louie is quite lost without his sheepish mates to keep him company. When he had the companionship of 300 other sheep, he didn't want to know any of us. One day, beautiful grand-daughter Meaghan called out despairingly, "C'mon, Louie! You're one of us, not one of them!" And was totally ignored for her trouble.

Now that he is alone, he not only deigns to notice us, he practically begs to have his head scratched along with a bit of a yarn. Every time we stick our head out the door, there is a plaintive bleat from the nearby paddock, and a hopeful (if a sheep can look hopeful) look in our direction.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Homo sapiens is quite inventive in providing ways and means of of his own demise, and until recently had not thought of a way to emulate our avian friends in hurtling at speed into immovable objects. My wife just witnessed the sad end of a Californian Quail as he and a covey of his mates flew through a blue gum near the house. RIP, pretty little friend.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

As a first step in getting my weather station up and running on the web, one needs a site from which to do it from. 

But there is a rather large learning curve, and this will be the first tentative step towards a coherent blog - the continued firing of geriatric synapses willing.
The Motueka West Bank River (sealed) road runs along mid-picture, and provides us access to the wider world. In mid-winter parts of the road do not see the sun and become quite icy - mitigated by the application of grit by the local authorities. Very popular on weekends with motorcycle enthusiasts and vintage car folks on their country meanderings.