Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Comfort of Waxeyes

I used the new wet shower this morning for the first time. Much easier work situation for the care-giver and I no longer have a pesky, risky step to be surmounted. But I’ll have to learn new handholds instead of the old shower supports. We’d taken the door off ages ago. I'd learnt to manage. The old dog will have to learn new tricks.

But – a bigger but – the room is not well-cambered. Water pooled in the area behind the toilet seat. That had to be mopped up. Well it’s their problem. But more hassle for me. My health leaves me feeling helpless in such situations. I’m at the mercy of others. I'd assumed a spirit level would have been used to check.

The daily tui comes to the abutilon. As do a waxeye group. In winter there are flocks of them. Then in early spring a pair. Now four! I suspect parents and their chicks. Jen, our neighbour commented about this foursome only the other day.

This group also spend time in the row of cabbage trees at Jen’s place which overhang the fence to us. The creamy flowers are very diminutive but by the length of time the birds spend there they obviously are getting nectar. The other possibility is insects who are fertilising the flowers. I notice the waxeyes seek aphid on the roses. Good on them!

I went googling to check the facts. I learnt a lesson. I’d put the words ‘cabbage tree fertilisation’ on the search engine. Lots of hits about nitrogen phosphorus, etc. So I tried again using ‘reproduction’ instead of ‘fertilisation’. Success! I was right both times. Insects are the main source are fertilisation – moths, bees, flies and wasps. But small birds as well.

In autumn there will be berries where the flowers are now. Tui love them, balancing on the long spikes. Blackbirds have more trouble. I’ve been amused watching them struggling for a toehold. Sparrows and starlings do better.

I watch the little birds going about their business. Cabbage tree to abutilon, sometimes together, sometimes separate, but shuttling back and forth and never still. While I sit and watch somewhere in the system I hope there is a message circulating – the McQueen renovation isn’t complete yet.

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