Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The sun shineth on the longest name...

Spent the day today down near Porangahau, which is on the coast in Central Hawkes Bay.  The actual site is along the top of the range near the longest place name in the World -

'Taumata¬whakatangihanga¬koauau¬o¬tamatea¬turi-pukakapiki¬maunga¬horo¬nuku¬pokai¬ whenua¬kitanatahu'

Translated this means 'The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one', and is the name of a 305m hill which is the tallest part of what is known as the Kuru Range.

I am doing bird monitoring for the Hawkes Bay Regional Council at this site, basically doing 5-minute bird counts at a number of sites throughout a really nice patch of native forest, following possum control.  I will also be doing the same at sites on Napier Hill when I get this done.  This is the third year that I have done monitoring at these sites, so it's always nice to get back here.

The weather today was gorgeous - mostly blue skies, and despite the long distances and steep terrain it is a really nice place to be.  Lots of native birds, and had a couple of surprises today.  On two occasions today I heard an Eastern rosella - an introduced parrot from Australia that is wild in several parts of the country.  The nearest site I know is across the Ruahine Ranges in the Manawatu (perhaps about 65 km away), so this might be a range expansion of this species.  I suspect this might be the first record of this species in Hawkes Bay?

The second interesting sighting was towards the end of a 5-minute count when I looked up and about 3m from me was an adult shining-bronze cuckoo with an egg in its bill!  Now these guys are brood parasites, so I'm guessing the bird was a female and had just laid its egg in the nest and removed one of the hosts eggs.  The bird had clearly cracked one side of the egg with its bill, and was holding it upright, with its beak at a 45 degree angle.  It was clearly swallowing the contents of the egg, and once the shell was empty discarded it, then wiped it's bill clean.  Certainly an interesting observation.

From the look of the egg it was definitely not a grey warbler (the most common host), nor a grey fantail (both these species have eggs with speckles).  The only species which springs to mind and matches is keen if anyone recognises the species.  I guess there is the possibility it is a cuckoo egg that this bird has removed from an already parasitised nest?

The mystery egg - intact side

The mystery egg - broken side

My office today...not a bad spot!


  1. Andrew Lamason11 July 2012 at 10:21

    Hi Brent, I have been doing the vege monitoring for the HBRC as well up on Kuru. One of the landowners down there said she has seen what sounds like Eastern Rosella in the trees around her house by the descriptions she gave me.I didn't see or hear them when I was there but your post seems to confirm their presence.
    AS an side I grew up on the outskirts of Napier and we had Eastern Rosella around our house in the early 80's
    Cheers Andrew

  2. Hey Andrew,
    Yeah they have been slowly coming into Hawkes Bay and I first recorded them at Kuru in about late 2009 I think it was. Will be interesting to see how the population grows.
    I don't think they are around Napier now, but certainly in forest patches in Central and inland Hawkes Bay.