Friday, 29 August 2008

Enjoying the warm sunshine on our faces

Signs that Spring is just around the corner

This week you may have gathered we centred the bulk of our schooling around nature ... learning the names of the birds frequenting our surroundings in particular. I have two more to add before completing the week's learning.

Hopefully I'm right in assuming from the description on What Bird that this next photo is a Yellowhammer.

Scientific Name: Emberiza citrinella - 16 cm, 27 g. Sparrow-sized mainly yellow bird of open country with reddish-brown upperparts, streaked darker; rufous rump and white outer tail feathers. Adult male has bright yellow head and underparts, head lightly marked brown on crown and on sides of face; cinnamon wash across breast, and pale yellow flanks. Adult female duller and paler yellow, more heavily marked brown on head, and breast band greyish green. Juvenile and immature even paler yellow or pale buff, heavily streaked, but still with rufous rump. Hops on ground when feeding, often with crouched posture. Outside breeding season, often form flocks on weed-infested crops and where hay has been scattered. Male song is rendered 'little bit of bread and no cheese'. Call a ringing metallic 'tink', or 'twick'. Habitat: Open country from sea level to subalpine, especially arable farmland or rough pasture with scattered scrub. Breeding: Oct-Mar.

Piwakawaka (Fantail)

Fantails are completely insectivorous and many insects are caught by hawking on the wing. (‘Hawking’ means to catch insects in flight.) The various Maori names mostly relate to the way they flit about while doing this. They follow people in order to feed on the insects we disturb as we pass by.

I was brought up (and believe very strongly) understanding that because piwakawaka laughed and woke up the goddess of death when Maui was trying to defeat her, some people feel that if a fantail comes inside the house it brings bad luck or even foretells a death! It may sound far-fetched to many, but I will attest to the misfortune brought about by this little bird. I delight in the mischievous flitting about of this little bird, but am always cautious when our doors are open!


Why this photo? Because tamaahine 2 looks up at me with all the curiosity and questioning of anyone seeking answers in their day. It struck me as such a powerful reminder that the children look to me for that guidance.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

1 comment:

  1. It's very interesting to read about the different birds in your area. They are quite beautiful!

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