A thing I like about my blog is the feedback I receive. Just before my computer went on the blink I posted a blog about a possible sighting of a rifleman, and the following day another one saying the more I researched the more I realised I’d made an error, it was probably a grey warbler. My sister-in-law Margaret (their farm is near Mt Hutt) and Auckland friend Rosemary both sent emails.
Bruce [my brother] is having a great discussion over the Grey Warbler and the Rifleman. He thinks what you saw was a Grey Warbler. We have them in the bush here and have a pair around the house. Now that we have planted some manuka trees Bruce is hoping the population will improve. He wasn’t prepared to give me a demo on the sound of their sweet tremulous trill.
On Banks Peninsula many times Bruce watched a Rifleman begin its search for insects at the base of a tree, spiralling up, sliding down and repeating the procedure again in a neighbouring tree.’
‘I did wonder if it wasn’t grey warblers that you had seen, but didn’t want to rain on your parade. It is not often that you see them – as you say, one hears them much more often.
One of my nicest Ark in the Park experiences occurred when I was observing a hihi feeder station for an hour. (We don’t do it any more as the feeder stations have cameras on them now). I found that if you sat quietly, for about 10 to 15 minutes all the bird life resumed and it was amazing what you saw.
The particular time I am thinking of, two grey warblers were darting around extremely close to me to catch insects, and I soon realised they were feeding one tiny chick which I imagine had left the nest very recently, probably that very day. It was only a metre or so away from me so that I could see the parents feeding it very clearly. It was about the size of the top joint of my thumb and it was perched on a little branch only about 10 centimetres from the ground. The parents each took about 10 minutes to hunt, so the little bird got fed every five minutes. It seemed so fragile and vulnerable, and I imagine the parents were trying to pump it up with energy so that it could fly and get further from the ground and predators. I hope it survived.’
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