I must admit, I miss the mammals. Not that I ever wanted to come face to face with a bear or a cougar – seeing their tracks was enough for me – but it was kind of nice to know they were out there. But here in New Zealand the only mammals around are introduced ones, and most of them as now considered to be pests as they decimated the native bird population. So I’ve gotten into birds. Lately, it seems like our yard has been attracting a bellbird, amongst one of New Zealand’s favorite native birds.
Actually, I think it was here last year too, but I only heard it once and I was not exactly sure. This is really a cool thing, as these birds are not very common in urban areas. Perhaps my slashing and hacking in an effort to go native is working? Nah, wishful thinking … for now.
Another all time favorite is the fantail. We had quite a few in the spring and I’d swear one came to check out the young kowhai tree I recently planted in the front yard.
Other more common visitors to our garden are starlings (introduced), gray warblers (endemic), goldfinches (introduced) and blackbirds (introduced). Blackbirds have nested on our porch for two springs in a row now.
In the Heathcote estuary we have all sorts of marine birds, and I could have sworn I even saw a kingfisher while hiking up the Bridle Path a while back. I still can’t get used to seeing ducks in sea water, shags (cormorants) perching on trees in Hagley Park and seagulls in alpine lakes. I am trying to get Steven to buy some good bird watching binoculars 🙂