Social chat

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

Do it here. Social only, no politics, issues or debate.

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

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29 Comments

  1. phantom snowflake

     /  9th March 2019

    A bit of Glam from ’75 for you oldies:

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  9th March 2019

      I saw them on the stage in Wanganui and was delighted to find a Sweet LP in an opshop,

      Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  9th March 2019

    9.56 am. Still got my mojo in the tiwaka whispering skills department. Main thing to remember is to wet the lips or the chirp doesn’t sound right.

    Such delightful birds, and so curious, even when they realise you’re not the tiwaka wahine they were expecting. 😀

    Reply
    • phantom snowflake

       /  9th March 2019

      To my mind, Piwakawaka, (as I have always known them) of any species of wildlife, demonstrate behaviour most suggestive of a collective consciousness within their species; in that if I encounter one particularly friendly example on a bushwalk, I know that on that day I will certainly encounter many others also particularly friendly. On a given day the behaviour of each is consistent with each other. I understand, of course, that to any humans of a materialist mindset, the preceding would be utterly delusional!

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  9th March 2019

        That’s interesting snowy. My experiences with them are that most of my regulars birds here (mainly tui, tiwaka, ducks, sparrows, thrushes, pukekos and occasionally starlings) all have distinct individual personalities. But I’ve had the time to get to know them well, and vice versa. Some deliberately work on me; they’ve figured out I’m a softy for birds and that certain behaviours by them will persuade me to go “Aww … that’s cute … all right, you can have some extra … don’t tell the others.”

        Sparrows are particularly adept at it. They’ll do little tricks, like one will run along the window ledge and hop onto the sill and out again. Others will fly up and hover at the window for a few seconds (“Look at me; look at me”.) Others will alight on the windowsill and look in and imperiously peep, once (“Garçon”!). Sparrows all also look different, you can recognise many.

        My favourite thrushes Fledgy and Hennie both look unusual and quite different from other male and female thrushes; they are probably both genetically mutants.

        It’s harder to tell adolescent and adult tuis, tiwakas and pooks apart by plumage. I have to do that by behaviours, and with the pooks, by voices, & size mostly.

        Reply
    • Gezza

       /  9th March 2019

      Yesterday’s heavy rain has stopped and there’s only been morning drizzle today (light drizzle often brings the fantails out here). The stream came up by about a metre yesterday but it’s receding now. Still murky brown and flowing strongly but if there’s no more rain it’ll be running clear by this evening.

      I also threw in some past its use-by date chopped up ham to see if it might attract any native longfin eels – they’ve been absent for several weeks as the stream has got shallow in the rainless Summer weeks.

      Then I put me treaded gummies on & clambered carefully down the wet bank to the Eel Spot at 11 am with my trusty dog roll chunks and feeding stick. The stream was still running strongly about 6 inches high & the bottom isn’t visible but I put some dog roll chunks in the still-murky stream. There was no sign of any longfins though. They seem to come and go over periods of months.

      Then I smacked the water in the usual pattern that’s my signal for Granville Shortfin, not really expecting him to be there. But he was 🙂 After the second signal suddenly he was there, hovering in the flow, coming up to the surface. And while I was feeding him as he held position above the overhang with the red tree roots several inches below the surface, another shortfin not much smaller sidled up alongside him.

      This one had to be fed below the surface, but Granville always knows to come up and will stay there until I stroke him gently along the body 2 or 3 times to let him know feed time is over.

      A bloke from the Regional Council phoned me in answer to an email I sent them last week asking if they could do anything to kill the blackberry that’s been rapidly taking over the far bank and now my side as well. The damn stuff grows about a foot a week and spreads like wildfire in all directions once it’s establish. He visited Wednesday morning, took photos, told me the stream and banks are owned by Wellington City, but that he’d send my request on to them with the photos and ask if they would be prepared to tackle the gorse and maybe do some riperian planting.

      He was interested in my eels. He said at his base up at Battle Hill, on the hill road to Paekakariki, they have several pet longfin eels in their stream – they sometimes pat them (quickly) on the head and usually feed them fish. He was happy to hear I’ve got three Australasian shortfins visiting frequently. He said they’ve got none and they’re actually quite rare in Welly.

      Reply
      • phantom snowflake

         /  9th March 2019

        There is another option for dealing with blackberry, although it’s not a quick fix. Blackberry isn’t tolerant of shade, so encircling it with plantings of fast-growing trees such as manuka will eventually do the trick. It might need to be cut back while the trees are becoming established; not a really fun job.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  9th March 2019

          Yes, that’s what the parks and reserves guy said. It’s a very steep bank on the far side and he pointed out where a few trees very little blackberry around them. Also some dense, tall, thickets of pig fern are preventing blackberry from spreading – the problem is there are just not enough trees and tall shrubs and bushes, & the blackberry’s spreading so far and is so dense it’s preventing any new ones getting established.

          Trees or shrubs with sparse foliage get overwhelmed.

          I’ve cut some back on my side but it’s only to clear my old path along the parenga that’s been easily navigable for years but has suddenly become impassable in one year. It’s vicious bloody stuff on clothes and skin, the thorns will go right through even robust garden gloves, you have to snap them all off if you want to hack a piece off (easy enuf to do, easier than rose thorns, but you have to remember to do it, and the reminder usually hurts like a buggar! And you always miss ONE 😡 ).

          It all dries out and dies off in Winter, my adviser said, but all the moisture and sap etc gets sucked back into the roots and rhizomes and it grows back with a vengeance as soon as conditions are right.

          Reply
          • Griff.

             /  9th March 2019

            I spray the blackberry every year here. The lime quarry was totally taken over when we first moved in now it is mostly grazing.
            It is not a once only job as any roots not killed just re shoot.

            I am surprised you dont grow up some seedling your self and reveg your piece of paradise.
            I dont know what would work down south but up here I have used Kanuka ,Manuka, Pittosporum and Coprosma to get quick cover. All will get to a meter in a suitable spot in a year or so and out compete blackberry and gorse.
            With Manuka you just find branches that have lots of seed and spreed them on the ground .Coprosma pick the berrys from road side trees and grow them up in root trainers or take cuttings. Coprosma strike easily as long as you keep them moist. Pittosporum can be grown from seed and cuttings or even nick the seedlings from under your local hedges and pot them up. You can even just stick cuttings of some plants straight in the ground over winter and get good growth by summer.

            Some local councils will even give you seedlings if you ask.

            You could easy replant a hundred meters or so of your stream side in a couple of years for a few hours a month of effort.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  9th March 2019

              Pittos grow from cuttings ??? I have four and will make myself some more now that I know that.

              A local bird has learned to imitate an electronic peep-peep-peep-peep sound. For a moment I thought that it was something in the house. I have heard of them making people run inside to answer the phone or stop the washing machine walking across the floor while Birdie laughs his feathers off at the mugs.

            • Gezza

               /  9th March 2019

              Good advice. I’m heading into a fairly major op for a fatal condition that’s just suddenly reached surgical threshhold, seeing surgeon next week, & I’m not sure how long after it’ll be before I’ll be up to that, though. I’m not up to it at the moment.

              The banks are bloody steep and the far one’s nearly completely covered in the damn stuff, and it’s right down to the water’s edge in many places. I’m hoping to hear from Welly council because now’s the time to be spraying it and it’ll need farming-scale spray.

              If the council can get a local bush friends group to plant it out that might be an option.

              What spray agent did you use?

            • Conspiratoor

               /  9th March 2019

              Escort always worked for me G. Best to keep the kids away from the berries for a few days afterwards though

            • Gezza

               /  9th March 2019

              Yeah, that’s the worry, c, I don’t think the pooks eat the berries, I’ve never seen any doing so, but the thrushes certainly do, & I think a few ducks have plucked some off overhanging branches, but not all of them. I’ll ask if they get in touch. The parks and reserves dude said they use Tordon & I don’t think that’s toxic to birds; it’s not toxic to acquatic life.

            • Griff.

               /  9th March 2019

              I use Metsulferon-methyl.
              Sold as msf600 or escort.

            • Gezza

               /  9th March 2019

              I dont know what would work down south but up here I have used Kanuka ,Manuka, Pittosporum and Coprosma to get quick cover.

              I’ve got two different pittos just over the fence, one has a dense small dark purple flower that gives off a strong, cloying scent like joss sticks every few years & triggers asthma. The fantail above is in it.

              The other’s a lighter green & its flowers aren’t even noticeable. Might take some cuttings off that if I have to do the planting myself. I’ve got a kanuka between them, although most of its branches are leafless or dead at the bottom and the leaves are really high up. The pooks sometimes strip some bark off the trunk. Produces lots of seed though. Might see if I can start some seedlings.

              I want to make sure various native & the usual imported grasses and other wetlands type flax-like plants can still thrive as the waterbirds feed on them.

            • Gezza

               /  9th March 2019

              Aw … no, correction, just looking again, in that clip, that fantail’s just flitted from the pitto to the kanuka – its leaves are at the tip, out of camera.

              It might be Bernard. Hard to tell. They don’t speak much English and my tiwakanese isn’t up to much tbh.

            • Gezza

               /  9th March 2019

              Went back down to the Eel Spot at 4.45pm. Water’s dropping but still flowing very strongly. Patience paid off. Had Granville & my two other Australasian Shortfins appear & managed to feed them all without any major dramas except when they bumped noses.

              Man these eels are the most beautiful colour – top and bottom. Pics and vidclips don’t reproduce it correctly; really appealing. And they have such cute faces.

              And then I got even luckier, a 3 foot native longfin appeared among them. Beautiful grey and creamy white underside Had to make a 2nd trip up and down again for more dog roll & fed that one too. Again luckily with dramas. They slid past each other without any argy bargy. Roughly this one (might be Eli) and Granville are the same length, but the longfins have much wider mouths.

              All there was down there was the sound of flowing water, me, and these eels, doing their silent ballets, moving & twirling gracefully in the flow of the still deep water. Totally entrancing. For me anyway. These fish are really beautiful.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  9th March 2019

              Eli’s back !

              I had no idea that these fish were so graceful and elegant. I’d love to see a yellow one.

  3. Gezza

     /  9th March 2019

    The nerve! I’m in the loo!

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  9th March 2019

      Can’t you wait ? Tie a knot in it. Rover.

      When it became cold last night, Fido pulled the bedclothes off me, made a doggy nest of them and snuggled down in it. If he thought that his mother wouldn’t notice or wouldn’t mind. he was swiftly disillusioned.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  9th March 2019

        This is a variation on my very old cat stopping the dachshund going outside to take care of business by the simple method of sitting with her bum against the cat door that had been cut from the bottom of the door. The dog was most unpopular when he began to ‘go’ on the kitchen floor again for no apparent reason. The cat was sprung when the dog was found with his legs crossed, whining and frantic to get out and her bum was seen blocking his egress.He never seems to have thought of biting the cat’s bum; he wasn’t very bright.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  9th March 2019

          Re yellow eels, I think a lot of people might call Granville and his friends yellow, Kitty. They’ve a kind of large blotch camouflage skin pattern and their upper body varies in shade from a yellowy-green to a mustard colour. Like these ones:

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  9th March 2019

            That’s yellow enough. The ones I saw photos of were very yellow-gold & the same colour all over, but they are rare. Those ones are really pretty & I am delighted that my little Eli is like that.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  9th March 2019

              No, Eli, Ella and Elvira & co are all NZ native Longfins. Although they look oily black on top when they break the surface, they are varying shades of grey on top when in the water and close to the surface, creamy white underneath. One young chappy in a couple of my early videos but whose name I forget is a particularly pretty very light grey.

              They are very shark-like in form and movement in deep, strongly flowing water, minus the sharks’ tall fins. This is what Eli looks like:

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  9th March 2019

              What a sweet smile.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  9th March 2019

              Old Blue Eyes. They’re snakey, too (states the obvious)

              I wish that we had pythons here; I fell in love with one in Canada who was very beautiful with golden eyes and was soft and warm when I stroked her. When I felt snakeskin on a hideously expensive handbag (how COULD anyone want this ? A dead snake, killed to make a bag) it was nothing like so soft and smooth as the living python was. Her father was wearing her wound around his shoulders, lucky man, as he walked down the street. Nobody took any notice but me.

            • Gezza

               /  9th March 2019

              I always thought eels were snake-like too. Most people think they are. And that pic of the yellowish shortfins above makes them look like snakes too. But the thing is – they’re not at all like snakes. They are very definitely like fish, they way their bodies taper in at the sides and with their pectoral anal and dorsal fins, which broaden out their profile considerably. Watching them at low level in the water you realise very quickly there’s nothing snake-like about them, they’re just long, solid-bodied fishies with short but elongated top and bottom fins that merge into a very broad & blunt-ended, strong paddle at the beam end.. 😐

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  10th March 2019

              I was thinking of their elegant movements.

            • Gezza

               /  9th March 2019

              The other thing that has fascinated me because I’ve observed and videoed so many of them so often now is that in even strong-flowing water they are incredibly strong swimmers who can go from undulating their tails lazily from side to keep position or lazily swim across or weave from side to side up a wide river, tracking the scent of food or blood in the water, to suddenly moving with incredible speed covering long distances if pursuing prey or another eel that’s irritated or attacked them. They often catch a nuisance and rush through the water with them in their mouths before letting them go – the victim usually gets the message and buggars off.

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