This large gull is a a native of New Zealand and is found from the coast to the farmland. It is one of New Zealand's few native birds that is not protected, and in fact is sometimes quite a pest on farms around lambing time.
We spotted this chick along the beach at Kapiti Island. He blended in to the stony beach and was hard to spot until he moved. They are 3 years old before they molt into the sleek black and white adult plumage. Until then they are a grey mottled colour.
The mother arrived on the scene and let us know she was unimpressed with the fact that we were admiring her baby. It is easy to see why they do so well, not many animals would stand up to them.
She kept an eye on us to make sure we left. A very handsome looking bird, but not one I would argue with.
I was in the vegetable garden last week trying to tame the plants after all the warm rain we have had lately. I have been neglecting it a bit. I heard a bit of buzzing but didn't work out what it was until I was stung twice on the leg. I did what every sensible gardener should do and sent my husband out to investigate.
He found the source of my problem. I had walked passed it and not noticed. The wasps had made a nest underneath one of the walking boards, in between the potatoes and garlic. As we have a lovely organic garden the usual poison that is recommended for wasp nests wasn't an option.
I went straight to the internet (as you do) and found an answer that seemed too simple to be true. Dishwash liquid and a lot of water. The soap breaks down the outer layer of the wasp and the water drowns them, quite quickly I was assured.
That night the men went out and did the deed:
1) Mesh over hole
2) Lots of dishwash liquid squirted into hole
3) Water from the hose to fill the hole and drown everyone - Queen, larvae, and workers.
The next morning there were only half a dozen lost workers flying around who had been sleeping outside. They disappeared by the end of the day.
This is what was being built. Quite a work of art, but not in my garden thanks!
Garlic was safely harvested, plaited by my daughter and is drying out in the garage. Hopefully we will have no more invasions.
We got to meet this amusing and highly intelligent bird on our trip to Kapiti Island.
This large New Zealand parrot has a reputation for solving problems - like how to get into your back pack. They arrive out of the bush and start working on the zips. It is amazing to watch how fast they can get them open and grab what's inside.
The North Island Kaka is approx 45cm long (almost 18in) and weighs about 475g. Their South Island cousin is a bit bigger.
They eat berries, seeds, nectar, grubs and tourists belongings. A very resourceful bird.
They are very entertaining to watch and are not afraid to land on hats, bags or shoulders.
The Kaka's are doing well on Kapiti Island as it is a nature reserve and all predators have been removed.