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Welcome 2019

We are well into the new year, and so far have been just busy enough. And there has been lots happening in the natural world. As always I’m fascinated by the the variations in the behavior of our flora from year to year.

For example very few of the Dancing Spider Orchids flowered, and not many of the Corybas oblongus Spider Orchids either. Lots of the various Green Hoods, but they didn’t last long. Lots of Lantern Berry flowers, but again only a very short flowering season. But the Ladies Slipper Orchids have been flowering heavily for 3 or 4 weeks now, and still only a small number of blooms past their best. The odd leafed orchids were quite sparse, and only out for 4 or 5 days.

Southern Rata Absent

Last year our rata had a superb flowering. This year I have yet to notice a single bloom. There is one tree at the Ulva Island landing that flowers with out fail late October each year. Never a lot of blooms, but always there…. except this year. Generally there will always be a few trees which will flower after a mast year, but the small amount of colour that has appeared this summer is all new leaves.

But our white rata is flowering quite well. 

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White Rata

Sails Stewart Island ToursNo Rata this year

Sails Stewart Island ToursThe Landing Bay Family

Sails Stewart Island ToursBoulder Beach Family a few days ago. About a week younger that those at Landing Bay

Black Oyster Catcher Families

Black (Variable) Oystercatchers generally have  2 eggs in a clutch, but occasionally will have a 3rd “Insurance” egg usually laid a week or so later. This much younger chick will seldom survive as the parents will struggle to fee 3 hungry beaks. But this year the pairs at Landing Bay and also Boulder Beach have hatched triplets. The landing bay trio seem to be doing well … the first time I’ve ever noticed this. But the Boulder Beach family looks less likely to all survive, as two appeared a bit weak the last time I saw them. 

Flax Flowering

In an earlier post I mentioned the tui feasting on the flax flowers. A couple of days ago Iris remarked on the flowering across all the flax species,  the heaviest that she could remember. And it has been spectacular. The earlier Phorium tenax is long finished, but the smaller Phoriom cookianum is in heavy flower now to the delight of both Tui & Kaka




Sails Stewart Island ToursPhorium Tenax in flower

Sails Stewart Island ToursSaddleback gathering fruit

Saddleback and Fruit

Most of this years robins will have probably fledged, and many appear to have been tossed out by the parents, as I’ve been seeing several “unattached” youngsters. But I’ve yet to see any young saddlebacks, and yesterday we saw a parent gathering fruit. I have often seen both adults and young birds gorging on Coprosma berries, but this was the first time I’ve seen parents collecting for their nestlings. 

Parakeets Nesting ??

 A couple of weeks ago we noticed an old parakeet nest showing signs of activity, with bark removed around the entrance … they usually nest in holes in trees. And most days when we walk past we hear, and often see a Red Crowned pair in the near vicinity. Yesterday we watched a pair courting. No way if we can be sure these are the same pair, or if they will nest in the hole, but we are watching with interest.

Parakeet breeding is tied to the coprosma sp fruiting season, and these are starting to ripen,

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Red Crowned Parakeet Courtship