Special delivery!

mailboxLiving out in the country as I do, my mail arrives via rural delivery, with a very kind and patient New Zealand Post person driving by 6 days a week to put all sorts of interesting things in my mailbox.  (I’ve mentioned squishy parcels in previous posts – they’re definitely the most interesting deliveries I receive 🙂 )

The mailbox is located on the grass verge on the opposite side of the gravel road outside my house, making it easy for the postie to deliver without having to step out of his vehicle – he just leans out, opens the mailbox, and pops the mail in.

However, the mailbox’s location also means that, on the odd occasion, it has taken a hit or two when the farmer mows the grass verge.  Given that he does this with a mower attached to a tractor, rather than a standard lawnmower, I can understand that the mailbox on the verge is somewhat in the way and a bit of a nuisance, but, that’s where the postie wants it, so …

Anyway, currently the mailbox is on a slight lean, after it was knocked during a mowing operation some time ago, and the opening flap has also been slightly damaged, presumably by a too-close encounter as the farmer tried to mow around it.  This left the mailbox with two ‘wounds’:  one a busted hinge, and the other a slightly bent profile.

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The damage didn’t really worry me – accidents happen, and mown verges do make for more pleasant walking on my evening constitutionals, rather than having to contend with loose gravel underfoot, so I’m happy for him to continue 🙂

And then this morning, I opened the mailbox to be greeted by this …

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What the …??  At first I thought the mailman had lost the plot – but then I realised that thanks to one or more very industrious birds, not only had I received mail, but also the beginnings of a bird’s nest 🙂 (How kind!!)

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That’s a fair hunk of grass in there – I wonder how many trips the birds had to make, and how difficult it was to squeeze through either the hinge hole or the bent flap for each delivery?  Very impressive! 🙂

The only thing that peeves me a little is that they appear to have totally ignored the provisions I specially laid on for their nest-building purposes a few weeks ago – a whole heap of fabric and batting scraps – colourful, free and available from the ‘delicatessen’ I created for them … still untouched, unused, unloved, unwanted … 😦

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Then again, maybe their reluctance to help themselves to these supplies has been due to a certain Furry Gentleman who likes to lie in the shade nearby …

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Hope your day is going well! 🙂

 

 

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Bath time in the gardens

With it being Tuesday today, once again I had some time between finishing work and my bridge game at 7.30pm, so off to the Botanic Gardens I went (yes, yes, I know, again??!)  But the evenings are so lovely at the moment, and what better place to capture some of that golden evening light?

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Making my way back to the car, I spotted a little flurry of avian activity to my left and on moving closer, I discovered it was evening bath time, where water had gathered in the hollow of what appeared to be a tyre rut just to the side of the path:  I guess with rain being virtually non-existent for some days now, any bathing opportunity is to be seized on, no matter how rudimentary the facilities are! 🙂

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Bird bath time 2  Lookout keeping an eye on me …

   Bird bath time 3  Bird bath time 4  Splish, splash, I was havin’ a bath …

   Bird bath time 5  Still keeping an eye on me …

  Bird bath time 6  Woah, it’s getting crowded around here!

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Bird bath time 9  Ah, that feels better!

I smiled all the way back to the car! 🙂 🙂

A close encounter of the feathered kind

Magic happens when you least expect it, don’t you find?  I had a couple of hours to kill between finishing work and my bridge game tonight (OK, technically it was actually last night, ‘cos it’s now after midnight), so I thought I’d make the most of the fine evening and head down to the Botanic Gardens, to take advantage of that beautiful light you get at the end of the day … soft and golden and so good for taking photos.

I stopped by the begonias, which are a riot of bright, vivid reds and yellows and peachy oranges at the moment …

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And that’s when he arrived – this little fella:

Little bird 3  He landed to my left, about 6 feet away from where I was sitting on the ground in front of the begonias.  I turned my head slowly towards him, fully expecting him to take off immediately, but he didn’t.  Instead, he hopped a bit closer.  And closer.  And CLOSER.  And now he’s only 2 feet away from me, and I am ab-so-lute-ly entranced.  (Call me the Bird Whisperer, why don’t you!)  I slowly manoeuvre my camera round so I can take another photo, and he cocks his head at me:

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“What you lookin’ at?”, he appears to be saying.

“Nothing, nothing at all”, I reassure him.  And I take a few more close-ups …

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By now I’ve noticed his fluffy little feathers, and I’m pretty sure he’s a young fledgling, an innocent who just doesn’t know the ways of the world (boy, is he going to get a telling off from his mother when he gets home!)  🙂 We sit together for just over 11 minutes, conversing quietly – well, actually, I was the one doing all the talking, he just sat and looked at me with those bright beady eyes, seemingly unafraid and content just to listen while I told him how beautiful he was, and how pleased I was that he had joined me.  Sadly, eventually I had to move – time was marching on, and besides, the grass was damp and the cold was starting to register on my posterior!  But even when I got up, slowly and carefully so as not to frighten him, he continued to sit and watch me closely, as if to say, “Do you REALLY have to go?”  It was a truly magical few minutes – other than the fantails, I’ve never had a wild bird so relaxed and unperturbed at being in such close proximity:  normally they squawk in alarm and flutter off as soon as you make even the slightest movement, but not him, he was Mr Cool, Calm and Collected. 🙂   Precious little bird, thank you for such a special moment – take care, and I shall look for you again amongst the begonias!

Yay, it’s Friday!!

Thank goodness!  Friday just couldn’t get here quickly enough for me this week – let’s just say it’s been a frustrating last few days …  However, I’ve made it safely through to today and now the weekend lies ahead, with time to relax and reflect and recharge 🙂

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Common Ground community cafe

Attended the opening today of a new community cafe for women (although there were plenty of men on hand at the opening as well), run by Riccarton Baptist Church and aimed at women who are socially isolated for whatever reason – perhaps they’re new migrants or refugees, women on their own at home with young children, or perhaps elderly and living alone – providing an opportunity for them to meet others in the local community and help them feel more connected and settled.  There was a real buzz in the room and it was great to see so many coming along to join in on the first day.  Riccarton has quite a diverse ethnic mix in its population, with a considerable number of non-English speaking residents for whom the language barrier can make it a struggle to get to know others, so it’s great to see a project such as this getting under way.  I loved the gumboot floral displays and welcome sign at the door  – each table also had a child’s gumboot on it, planted with a pansy or similar small flower – they looked so cool!

I have the second part of my digital camera course tomorrow afternoon, when we’re going to be looking at editing and manipulating our photos with programmes such as Gimp and Photoshop, so I’m looking forward to that.  I’ll probably take the opportunity while I’m out and about to check out a few more of the Gap Filler projects in the city – and I’m also going to sort out some books to take down to the Littlest Library in the World that I posted about a few days ago:  I walked past it again earlier this week and noticed that there were some new books there, but didn’t have time to stop and look (what’s the betting they’ll have taken that Cat’s Eye book I had my eye on … 😉 ).

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New Zealand fantail

Had a wonderful experience this evening after I got home.  My absolute favourite bird is the New Zealand fantail or pīwakawaka, which is a beautiful, cheeky little bird that flits around you with no apparent fear at getting up close and personal, as happened to me this evening.  They have a very distinctive call (which is reasonably easy to imitate by puckering your lips together, putting your finger in-between your lips and sucking in lightly, sort of like a kissing sound), so when I heard one outside I grabbed the camera and shot out onto the verandah.  I could see him (her?  I have no idea how to tell one from t’other!) in the shrubs alongside the creek, and then the next minute it flew over to me and perched about three feet away from me on the clematis!  Unfortunately, the light just wasn’t good enough – or else I was shaking so much with excitement – for me to take any worthwhile photos, so I’ve borrowed someone else’s to show you what a delightful little bird they are.  (I had a similar experience about three years ago in the garden here, but that time the bird actually alighted on my outstretched hand not once, but TWICE –  I was quite beside myself with excitement then, I can tell you! 🙂 🙂 )  I really love having them in the garden – I always worry that because they’re so friendly the cats are going to make short work of them, but I’ve never actually seen one being caught:  they do tend to flit about a lot and never settle for more than a few seconds at a time, so maybe that’s their saving grace.

And to finish off today, a few more photos to share with you – these are ones that have been taken in the last couple of years or so, after I bought myself a nice digital camera and got back into taking photos:  still learning all the time, but I like to think I’m improving slowly 🙂

Talk to you again soon – take care now!

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