Don’t I look spiffy
In my formal garments
Hoping to catch a lady's eye
What is a Pukeko?
The Pukeko, or New Zealand Swamp Hen is a member of the rail family, and is similar to other species found all over the world. It is one of the few New Zealand native birds to have flourished since the arrival of man, and can be found in almost any grassland area, especially in swampy locations. Groups will often be seen foraging for food in road-side areas.
With their bright blue plumage and red beaks, they easily stand out against the New Zealand greenery, particularly when their white tail feathers begin flashing in alarm.
Just why they have struck a chord with the Kiwi psyche is hard to say, but you'll find their images on all manner of art and craft works. Ask any visitor to New Zealand what bird they remember most, and they will more than likely answer, "The Pukeko!" ~ Bernard
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Masjid in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei
The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Masjid is a majestic masjid in the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan. The masjid is named after Omar Ali Saifuddien III, the father of current Sultan Hassanil Bolkiah, and symbolizes the Islamic faith in Brunei. A conspicuous structure in the skyline of the city, it was constructed in 1958.
The masjid is built blending the Islamic architecture with Italian style. It is set in a man-made lagoon on the banks of the Water Village and is beautifully lit during the night.
The main feature of the masjid is the main dome which is covered with pure gold. The minarets are constructed out of marble. The prayer hall can accommodate over 3,000 people and has beautiful carvings with arches, tinted glass windows and marble columns. The masjid is surrounded by trees and flower gardens giving a blissful touch. ~ Bernard
In my grey disguise
Lurking in shadows
New Zealand robins and tomtits resemble British robins, but the two groups are not closely related. The New Zealand species belong to the Australian–New Guinean family Petroicidae.
Robins and tomtits have large heads, short necks, round bodies and an upright stance. They have short bristles around the bill. Robins have long legs, and are larger than tomtits. All are insectivorous. The oldest known bird lived 16 years, but their life expectancy is three years. ~ Bernard
I’m in speed mode
Head down, tail feathers up
Splayed foot propelled
Also known as the swamp hen, this is the most commonly encountered of the five living species of the rail family native to New Zealand, the others being the closely related takahe or Notornis, weka, banded rail, spotless crake and marsh crake. Pukekos dwell in swamps, along lake shores, and in poorly drained pastures throughout New Zealand and Chatham Islands, and are occasionally wind-borne to the Kermadecs and Campbell Island. Though native to this country, the species, in the form of various subspecies, occurs widespread in a number of overseas countries. The local subspecies is called melanotus. ~ Bernard
In quiet woods
Calls of plaintive birds
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens, located in the central city of Christchurch, New Zealand are botanical gardens founded in 1863, when an English oak was planted on 9 July 1863 to commemorate the solemnisation of marriage between Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark.
The Gardens sprawl over an area of 21 hectares and lie adjacent to the loop of the Avon River next to Hagley Park. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens have a variety of collection of exotic and local plants of New Zealand. ~ Bernard
How are the kids?
Did you hear about Mabel?
The Australasian crested grebe is majestic and distinctive diving bird that is usually seen on the southern lakes of New Zealand where it breeds. It has a slender neck, sharp black bill and head with a distinctive black double crest and bright chestnut and black cheek frills, which it uses in its complex and bizarre mating displays. It is unusual for the way it carries its young on its back when swimming. The crested grebe belongs to an ancient order of diving water birds found on every continent in the world. They are rarely seen on land except when they clamber onto their nests on the lake shore. The Australasian crested grebe occurs in New Zealand and Australia but it is threatened in both countries and the New Zealand population probably numbers fewer than 600 birds. ~ Bernard
Bright red berries
Attract the eye and birds
Nature has a plan
If you are growing a holly bush for its bright berries, you need to keep in mind that most holly varieties have male and female plants and that only the female holly shrub produces berries. This means that in the location where you would like to plant a holly bush with berries, you will need to plant a female variety and you will also need to make sure that a male variety is planted nearby. Instead, you can also try to find holly varieties that do not need a male plant in order to produce holly berries. ~ Bernard
Preening is done
Every feather in place
Ready for what the day brings
The BrownTeal (Anas chlorotis), or pateke, is a small dabbling duck species endemic to New Zealand distributed throughout the lowland freshwater wetlands and, historically, the Chatham Islands. The brown teal’s omnivorous diet, restricted annual range and mainly terrestrial lifestyle give it a unique ecological niche among waterfowl, somewhat akin to a wetland rodent, and it serves as a classic example of the influence of selective forces that operated on birds in pre-human New Zealand.The Brown Teal (pateke) was once widespread throughout New Zealand but is now rare and restricted to Great Barrier Island and coastal valleys of eastern Northland. The species has suffered an ongoing decline in numbers and range since the late nineteenth century. There are currently fewer than 1000 brown teal living in a wild state in New Zealand, making it New Zealand’s rarest waterfowl species on the mainland. ~ Bernard
This years fruitage Food for various animals To propagate elsewhere
Karaka or New Zealand Laurel (Corynocarpus laevigatus) is an evergreen tree of the family Corynocarpaceae endemic to New Zealand. It is common throughout the North and South Islands to Banks Peninsula (43°45′S) and Okarito (43°20′S), on the Three Kings Islands, on Raoul Island in the Kermadecs, and on the Chatham Islands. It is widespread in coastal habitats, often forming a major component of coastal forest, though it rarely dominates. Most botanists consider it to be native only to the northern half of the North Island, having been planted elsewhere by Māori near former village sites, and subsequently spread by birds. ~ Bernard
Paradise ducks (Tadorna tadorna)
The paradise shelduck is New Zealand’s only shelduck, a worldwide group of large, often semi-terrestrial waterfowl that have goose-like features. Unusually for ducks, the female paradise shelduck is more eye-catching than the male; females have a pure white head and chestnut-coloured body, while males have a dark grey body and black head.
Paradise shelducks are commonly observed flying in pairs or grazing on pasture. They are very vocal birds, with males giving a characteristic ‘zonk zonk’, while females make a more shrill ‘zeek zeek’ while flying or as a warning ~ Bernard
Bursting with energy
Portent for the future
At years end of growth
Crataegus mexicana is a species of hawthorn known by the common names tejocote, manzanita, tejocotera and Mexican hawthorn. It is native to the mountains of Mexico and parts of Guatemala, and has been introduced in the Andes. The fruit of this species is one of the most useful among hawthorns. ~ Bernard
The paradise shelduck is a conspicuous and colourful species with contrasting male and female plumage. Between a large duck and a small goose in size, the male is uniformly dark grey or black while the female body is a dark or light chestnut (depending on age and state of moult). The male’s head is black with occasional green iridescence and the female’s head and upper neck is white. Both sexes have a chestnut undertail, black primary wing feathers, green secondary wing feathers and a conspicuously white upper wing surface. Variable amounts of white may occur on the heads of males during the eclipse moult (February-May) and newly-fledged juvenile females may retain an extensive black head with a white face patch until they complete their post-juvenal moult (by May).The bill, legs and feet are dark grey/black. Down-covered ducklings appear initially as “mint humbugs”, patterned brown-and-white. The first feathers are dark, and near-fledged ducklings of both sexes resemble the adult male. ~ Bernard
Come stroll with me
And we shall venture
This autumnal day
Work began on the Christchurch Botanic Gardens in July 1863, when an English oak tree was planted to commemorate the marriage of Queen Victoria's eldest son Prince Albert Edward to Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Over the years, natural wetlands and sand dunes have been transformed into an elegantly cultivated 30 hectare park with more than ten sub-gardens, which are mostly contained within a loop of the Avon River.
In stately repose
She awaits dinner
Table for two please
The white-faced heron is New Zealand's most common heron, despite being a relatively new arrival to this country. It is a tall, elegant, blue-grey bird that can be seen stalking its prey in almost any aquatic habitat, including damp pasture and playing fields. Because it occupies space also shared with people it is usually well habituated to their presence, and may allow close approach. ~ Bernard
If it looks like a chicken
And walks like a chicken
It may be a Weka
Weka, or woodhen NZ.(Gallirallus australis)
Wekas, or woodhens, are members of the rail family which are mainly aquatic birds, all capable of swimming well. Apart from the Pukeko and Weka, rails are secretive birds, usually found skulking in freshwater swamps and estuarine mangroves and reed beds. Rails have slim bodies that help them move through dense vegetation, moderately long powerful legs with long unwebbed toes that help them walk through wetlands, and a short tail which is flicked up and down as they walk or swim. The rails are ground based birds that seem unwilling to fly and some, like the Weka and the Takahe, have the lost the ability to fly at all. ~ Bernard
Betsy Ross had a brother
No she didn’t
The northern royal albatross is a huge white albatross with black upperwings. It usually mates for life and breeds only in New Zealand. Biennial breeding takes place primarily on The Sisters and The Forty-Fours Islands in the Chatham Islands. There is also a tiny colony at Taiaroa Head near Dunedin on the mainland of New Zealand, which is a major tourist attraction.
Northern royal albatross can be sighted throughout the Southern Ocean at any time of the year. Non-breeding and immature birds, including newly fledged birds, undertake a downwind circumnavigation in the Southern Ocean. The main wintering grounds are off the coasts of southern South America. They are generally solitary foragers and forage predominantly over continental shelves to shelf edges. ~ Bernard