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Tui sightings on Banks Peninsula

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Tui sightings on Banks Peninsula in a larger map

Hi Rob & Kit

As promised, here are my tui observations for the period 22 February 2012 to Monday, 16 April 2012.

As you know I have not a kept a detailed diary as in the past, so it is largely an overview of tui activity.

Banded birds:    Only seen at the mid-deck feeder.

M/O-B Harry Ell:               23, 24, 25 February.  Back on 1, 4, 5 March.  Not seen since.

M/Y-G The Vicar:             29 March.  Single observation.

G/M-R Julie:                       4 April. Single observation.

M/O-W Joseph:                12, 13 April

M-W/W Takamatua:       12, 13 April

Unbanded birds:              Seen every day.  Up until a few days ago, most of the unbanded birds appeared to be juveniles.  During February and March, their feathers were browner than adult tui, and poi feathers were either absent or very sparse.  There was an absence of shawl feathers, too.  A number of the unbanded tuis have been looking distinctly scruffy as they moult.  This is in contrast to the very pristine feathering of the several adult, unbanded tui which have appeared in the last few days.  Laurie’s recent emailed photographs to you, demonstrates this noticeable difference!

Initially, tuis were being seen at both the mid-deck and garden feeders.  However, in the last week few tui have been seen at the garden feeder.  This feeder may be less attractive at the moment as the flowers and berries on the whiteywoods nearby are all but finished.

The tuis have been observed taking insects both on the wing and from branches and leaves on the box elder and walnut trees, nectar and berries from whiteywood, berries from cabbage trees and coprosma, and nectar from grevillea.

The tui with a damaged leg, first observed on 27 March, and variously named Hoppy, Gammy, or Jake, seems to be holding his own.  It is amazing how well he manages, despite sometimes having some difficulty maintaining his balance when he lands and when he is roosting/resting in the trees near the mid-deck feeder. When he is at the feeder, he does use his damaged foot to some extent which presumably enables him to balance better.  He does guard the feeder well, and looks quite impressively big with his feathers all puffed up.  Some tuis, tend to steer clear of him (his size suggests he may be male rather female), while others use the feeder at the same time with no apparent aggression being shown.

The tui without a tail, seems to be unimpeded by the lack of tail feathers.  It swoops in and out as the rest do.

Most tuis seen at one time:  Colder weather leading up to this last weekend seems to have brought more tui to the feeder.  Laurie and I have both observed 7 in the box elder on separate occasions, though Laurie believes there may well have been 8 tui last Friday, 13 April.  This was a particularly cold day – 3 degrees at 7am!    All of these were unbanded birds.

Bellbirds:             W-R/M:                                is a very frequent visitor to the feeders.

G-B/M and Y-G/M:         both have been seen occasionally since the 27 March.

G-M/W:                               no sightings.

That’s it for now.

Nan Richards

Notes  from Rob Grigg May 1, 2012

I feel there is very little I can add to Nan’s excellent summary tui activity.

Yesterday we all agreed that there were now (end of April) at least 10 unbanded birds here  and estimate 8 are juveniles.

At times the noise from the bellbirds is deafening I believe  their numbers here must equal  the tui.

I often observe two tui in the same tree chattering away whereas the bell birds call to each other from different trees across the valley.

Other food sources: Ribbonwood flowers for a short time, elderberry also for a short time, red and yellow pokers (kniphofia) and mistletoe berries

Banded birds:  all those mentioned by Nan have been seen at Grigg and Jones feeders  as well as Lill.

Joseph calls by regularly, he is now a very large and handsome bird.

Regards to all Rob