This is the Kowhai, the New Zealand native spring blossom tree:
We were in the Wellington Botanical Gardens yesterday evening where there are a number of Kowhai trees in flower. “Kowhai” (ko’fai) is the widely used Maori name for this tree. It means “yellow”. It flowers in Spring, a mass of beautiful yellow bell-shaped flowers. Nectar rich, they attract nectar loving birds from all over the city, particularly the Tui, one of New Zealand’s iconic native birds.
It was glorious to hear them singing away in clear, bell-toned notes. Each tui has a different song. They are also great mimics, and some times they pick up songs that are not so wonderful…
We were extra surprised to see this rare kaka (rhymes with baa) in the tree! A worried tui (you can see him at the bottom of the picture) tracked it, seemingly saying “Hey, what are you doing?? That’s my food! Don’t eat it all!!” The kaka, a New Zealand native parrot, is an endangered bird. They have a typical raucous parrot screech, but they can also emit a beautiful clear melodic tone as well.
Here’s a clearer picture of the kaka – unfortunately the sky got blanked out, but you can see the bird better:
Thanks to the efforts of Zealandia (formerly the Karori Sanctuary) they are becoming quite a common site in this part of Wellington. If you click the link I’ve provided to Zealandia and wait a second or two, you should hear some lovely birdsong when the page opens up (including the tui’s). It’s birdsong that is thankfully becoming more common in suburbs around the sanctuary (including mine) as the birds branch out from their base. Zealandia is not caged in – there is predator-exclusion fencing, but the birds are free to fly in and out they please.
Here’s a better pic of the tui. Such a pretty bird! You can just see the white stripey collar and the iridescent black feathers that shine with a green tinge in the light.
It was a lovely interlude on a gorgeous afternoon.
On another note, thanks so much to everyone who has shown interest in the Strong Heart mittens! It made me so happy to see all the interest in them. 🙂
Don’t forget – two more days before the giveaway closes. If you’d like the chance to try some New Zealand yarn for yourself, go ahead and leave me a comment as per the instructions!
I realise I forgot to show you pictures the other day. These are the two balls of Zealana’s beautiful Rimu: