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