The voting for the most popular NZ bird of the year is underway and the ongoing results are available to view at the NZ FOREST & BIRD web site.
It's looking so far like a shoe-in for titipounamu: the rifleman.
I still can't decide on my choice. Can't say I have seen a rifleman in years. If ever. Where do they hang out, I wonder? Probably deep in the bush, a place I have rarely managed to get to because of a congenital heart condition.
Being reminded of the concept of the rifleman has resurrected a long lost memory of those lined writing pads we used at primary schools "in my day" (the 1960s). I do remember I liked the one with the picture of the rifleman. But we never saw most of Buller's birds outside the classroom!
Ah, but that nostalgia now, with the smell in my nostril of the brand-new writing pad, and the memory of the anticipation of lifting the shiny beautiful cover with its lovely picture of the fantail, or whio (blue duck), or huia, and of smoothing the cover down carefully, and then lifting the snowy blotting-paper page, and folding that back too, and then of reaching that wonderful world of the pristine lined page - smooth and unblemished by blots or indents - just waiting to be written on.