The little wax eyes/silvereyes are one of my favourite wild birds, but anything with feathers immediately draws my attention. I have set myself a goal to capture at least one photograph of every bird species found on the South Island. It is an enormous project, but I am slowly chipping away at the numbers. Today I was so fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and whopeee… I captured this little darling not knowing who he was and I was not even sure I had a photo that was in focus or not, they flit insessently through the understorey and canopy of small trees searching for insects. I got home and referred to my New Zealand Bird books and was delighted to have 1. a photo in focus and 2. I captured a new spices today for the firs time. It was no coincidence that the shining cuckoo was in the neighborhood.
To view a list of brids captured so far please see my journal entry
Riroriro – Grey Warbler – Gerygone igata
Birds of Karori Sanctuary.
Winner of an annual competition to find New Zealand’s favourite bird, this tiny insignificantly-coloured bird is nevertheless one of the greatest characters of the bush. It’s distinctive warble (tseetseetseetseetsee") is a herald of spring and, as such, it features in several significant Maori folk tales. It flickers insessently through the understorey and canopy of small trees searching for insects, often heard, rarely seen for more than a second . (a demanding subject for the photographer!)
On the thinnest of branches, riroriro builds a hanging nest with a verandah, to keep out enemies. But sometimes when it is away, a shining cuckoo will lay its egg in the nest, tricking the tiny warblers into raising a baby several times bigger than they are! Usually two families of four chicks will be reared each year. It is the second clutch that most often suffers the attention of the cuckoo.
A Maori whakatauki (proverb): "In spring, the song of the riroriro meant it was time to plant the crops. Some people were lazy. They didn’t work hard in their gardens and in the winter they would grumble because they were hungry. The people who had grown plenty of food would laugh and say, “I hea koe I te tangihanga o te riroriro?” which means, “Where were you when the riroriro sang?”
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 Rural Southland NZ
Featured 19th March 2011
Where Were You When The Riroriro Sang?
Original Music: Bird Beat by Keith Lightfoot
I love birds