Monday, September 14, 2009

Vote for NZ native bird of the year



Yesterday a royal spoonbill turned up again, in the shallow waters of the bay outside my window. What a magnificent visitation!

Where has it been all winter?

Is it my favourite NZ bird of the year? or should I vote for the faithful fantail, who never went away, and has provided such joy with its aerobatics and daring dive-bombing, not to mention its welcome loving messages from "the other side"?

Or the exquisite little silvereye - the flying fish with its startled white banded face-makeup and its remarkable ability to pack away large quantities of porridge?

Those marvellous lumbering whooshing jumbo jet kereru (wood pigeons), are also among my favourite birds.

And the delicate shy pied stilt who prefers to take little runs rather than just walking anywhere. When the stilts come to feed at dusk on an ebbing tide, close to the edge of the bay, it's a riveting sight. They look as though their silhouettes have been cut out, accidentally, too thinly. How has such a fragile creature survived? I've stayed watching them until they are just shadows, until they have disappeared into the greyness of the night water.

Can't decide. Love 'em all. And no sign of the godwits yet.

Votes for "bird of the year"are being cast at http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/

Here are some celebrity endorsements:

Kim Hill prefers the fantail - piwakawaka;

Jeremy Wells goes for the spoonbill;

Steve Braunias likes the white faced heron this year;

Sam Hunt opts for the pied stilt - poaka;

Dame Kiri has spoken up for te kereru (wood pigeon).

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