General chat

“Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

Do it here. Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.

25 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  September 2, 2018
  2. Conspiratoor

     /  September 2, 2018

    Haunting Sicilian paean to the dark forces behind the Cosa Nostra…

  3. Gezza

     /  September 2, 2018

    Just fed Eli & Big Ella again. Ella’s taken up station under an overhang of the far parenga, not far from where the Eel Stump used to be, for the last two mornings. I was actually looking downstream for Eli to come up the rapids (threw some catfood into the water to attract him) but he was a no show, and I just happened to notice Ella move as I was leaving the fence to come back inside.

    I called her over to the eel spot & fed her, by which time Eli also showed up and managed to score a couple of meat chunks before bumping into Ella & deciding to head back downstream again.

    Ella’s fascinating to watch. If I put the cellcam on her, at 2x zoom, as she cruises silently underneath the camera, needing only minmal, slow undulations of her broad, flat, blade of a tail end, she fills the screen. Her big, grey, tubular shape reminds me of those movie shots of nuclear subs slowly emerging & crusing past a look-down vidcam.

    Young Eli positively zips around, by comparison. But I saw Ella roar up from the depths after some ducklings last Summer – & she’s capable of tremendous bursts of speed. She came up in the middle of the group and missed getting any of them, but her head came out of the water & she looked like a river version of a Great White making a strike.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  September 2, 2018

      Doo-doo…doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo…..

      There’s a tui outside in the Birds Hotel Tree (which is growing leaves like a speeded-up nature film. I’d take a photo, but it’s overcast and raining so it wouldn’t be much good. He’s chirping rather than singing, like someone talking to themselves.

      • robertguyton

         /  September 2, 2018

        Outside of my window, right now, there are 3 kereru tumbling about the place, playing whatever show-off games they play at this time of the year, from quince to plum, medlar to apple.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  September 2, 2018

          They visit me sometimes, and I have seen them in the Birds Hotel. I have some self-setting trees with little berries, and these are bird magnets. The wood pigeons and other birds just stuff them down, to my delight (and annoyance when I have to scrub the disgusting mess that the berries leave on the bird table) They particularly like one outside the kitchen window.

          I love their smart little cream-coloured overalls, They are irregular visitors, unlike the others. I don’t know why my little garden is the birds’ club, but am delighted that it is.

          I can’t remember where the bats conversation was, but I have a book about people in England who do traditional crafts (all sorts, from wheelmaking and thatching to the decorative ones) and there’s a man who makes cricket bats the traditional way, all by hand.

          • robertguyton

             /  September 2, 2018

            “My” kereru feed on tagasaste and tree medick here at this time of the year. Soon, they will have laburnum to feast upon (they adore it). Flocks of kereru fly over from Rakuira and enjoy the bounty of mainland gardens like mine. My plum, nashi and apricot blossom and buds are always under threat from their attentions, but we have too much fruit anyway, so some “thinning” at this time of the year is neither here nor there.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 2, 2018

              I thought that laburnum was poisonous. It is to cows and humans, but the birds must know what they are doing.

              ‘My’ waxeyes are happily eating grapefruit. Someone told me that they would, and they are happy with it as they would be with oranges and tangeloes. It was a proud moment when I presented them with homegrown tangeloes.

              Birds can be a pest with plums; nobody would mind if they ate a whole one, but they peck holes in half the plums on the tree.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 2, 2018

              Laburnum leaf-buds go down the kereru throat like lollies as do plum- blossom and leaf-buds. The birds show no sign of distress and return year after year, not dead. Waxeye and tui are presently pollinating the plum blossom at a great rate. Their work is much appreciated. The bellbirds are off somewhere, doing something else. Starlings are gathering to choose their nest sites (tii kouka crowns) and the sparras have their nests sorted under our eaves. Grey warblers are warbling’ and brown creepers down’ what they do best. Best of all are the grey-fronted herons that lope overhead morning and night, making their way up to the monster macrocarpa on the neighbours property. I got brugmansia but haven’t seen a single pollinating hummingbird, dammit!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 2, 2018

              I don’t know what the little berries are, but they go in one end, out the other….very efficient planting system, but I could do without the mess on the fence and bird tables.

              The bird tables are made of old fence slats and recycled table legs (one is on the folding legs from one of those little tables) The bird bath was a giveaway from an opshop…..a large (meat ?) dish, antique Meakin. It has one or two chips, but I don’t mind that and the birds don’t. it must be the only antique Meakin bird bath and I suspect that the donor didn’t intend this 😀 It’s ideal, like a big paddling poot.

              I have house sparrers and dunnock hedge sparrers, all very sweet. Also grey warblers, goldfinches and waxeyes, rosellas (sometimes), moreporks….there are local herons, which I love, and there are/were white ones among them. They would land down the road, making everyone else pea green. I was talking to someone when a heron rose up….his reaction was of the ‘Oh, yes….’ kind (definitely a goat, not a sheep)

              Kingfishers, fantails, thrushes, cuckoo….

              About 20 kinds visit and a lot more fly over,

              I forget how many birds come in here, and it’s a small section. I have even had bellbirds ! Hawks fly over and there are partridges and pheasants across the road.

              The cafe I go to has a resident sparrer. I call him Sparky, He seems to think that he owns the place.

            • Gezza

               /  September 2, 2018

              The cafe I go to has a resident sparrer. I call him Sparky, He seems to think that he owns the place.

              I believe it! I’ve got a right young madam of a sparrer I call Cheekybird. Whenever she’s around and she sees me in the kitchen she lands on the brick window ledge and does very loud, single, cheeps until she gets some wheat grains put there for her. They are the sparrer equivalent of “Garçon !”

          • Gezza

             /  September 2, 2018

            I have to say, it’s a pretty poor state of affairs when a young mother runs up and grabs the food out of her own child’s mouth, even if they are a good-looking bird. I won’t be mentioning any names, but it’s certainly not the way this young mum usually likes to portray herself.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 2, 2018

              You don’t mean Sugary (name changed to protect the privacy of the bird) ?

            • Gezza

               /  September 2, 2018

              I’d to make no further comment at this point I think. Hugely unimpressed with said young lady.

            • Gezza

               /  September 2, 2018

              *prefer to make

        • Gezza

           /  September 2, 2018

          Very rare for me to see a kereru around Tawa. Been several years since I’ve seen one where I am now, next to the stream. Plenty around in the bush I’ve hiked in around the greater Wellington region though. Kaitoke forest park out towards the Rimutakas had trees so full of them in the car park one day the branches were bending. All the berries were out and they all looked happy and fat as.

          • robertguyton

             /  September 2, 2018

            There are 40 or so feeding on the broom flowers in the field above us.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 2, 2018

              I never have more than 4 or 5, but it’s lovely to have them.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  September 2, 2018

            You know that they are….(raises imaginary glass)

            It’s true, alas, I have seen them when they are in that condition.

    • Gezza

       /  September 2, 2018
      • Pickled Possum

         /  September 2, 2018

        OMG that’s a huge climb!

        • Gezza

           /  September 2, 2018

          Well, yes, sis, but on the plus side – if it’s been wet & you slip on that wandering willie creeper and land on yaw arse it only takes half a second to get down there. (It sometimes takes a bit longer to find your eel food container n stuff, which often flies in all directions, though.)

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  September 2, 2018

            A while ago, when I’d been picking lemons from Mrs Mahon’s tree, I decided to slide down the slope…no one was there, I flipped my skirt up, sat down and slid down to the bottom. I haven’t done that for years. Undignified but fun.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  September 2, 2018

        Did you know that there’s a place in the UK called Eel Pie Island ?

        • Gezza

           /  September 2, 2018

          I’ll bet their eels aren’t up to scratch compared to my native longfin tuna. I was checking out eels generally today after looking at a lot of my footage and I noticed most other eels pictured from elsewhere around the world have flat bladed tails that taper to a point, but ours don’t taper like that: they have a blunt flat blade. I was watching Ella several times today, even as the rain started to raise the stream, she just hovers in there, seemingly effortlessly, undulating gently. The broad flat tail waving from side to side in the flow must generate a considerable amount of thrust. She really does look like a shark.