Friday, October 8, 2010


There are so many lovely sights on and around our property at this time of year. (Click for larger pictures.)

The kowhai is one of New Zealand's few deciduous native trees. It keeps its leaves till just before flowering, so that the mass of yellow flowers first appear on bare branches. This tree is only a few years old; mature ones can reach 12 metres in height. Kowhai is "yellow" in Maori.

A plum tree covered with blossom. I never realised that plum blossom is scented until our own trees began bearing so heavily. By Christmas this tree will be laden with fruit, a variety that's delicious fresh but not worth preserving. The sheep make a fine job of clearing the windfalls.

A new neighbour. This calf is only a day or two old, with a furry coat as soft as a cat's, not the rougher weatherproof coat it'll have later. It's being hand-fed, and rushes up to the fence as soon as it sees us, ready to suck at fingers or clothing, gazing from soft brown eyes under inch-long lashes.

And a sound of spring: the pipiwharauroa, or shining cuckoo. It spends its winters in warmer places like Vanuatu and New Caledonia. When that distinctive call is heard, I know spring is here.

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