Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
News About Shelley Blog Books Extras Contact Small Font Large Font

Archive for 'birds'

The White Heron or Kotuku

While the white heron is common in Australia and parts of Asia, we’re lucky to see them. They are considered rare in New Zealand. The Maori called them kotuku and their white feathers were highly sought for decoration. It is known as a graceful and beautiful bird and is featured on the New Zealand two-dollar coin.

We have a resident kotuku in our area. He or she hangs out at the local pond where he wades and fishes for fish and eels. We never know when the heron will be at the pond, and it disappears for months at a time.

Here are a few photos taken during one of the kotuku’s visits.

IMG_9750

Kotoku

Kotoku3

Kotoku2

A beautiful bird. Have you seen one before?

The Lost Moa

The moa is a flightless New Zealand bird that became extinct around the arrival of Europeans. There were several types of moa, the largest of which was taller than a full-grown man.

They had long necks, big sturdy clawed feet, an ostrich-like body and soft brown feathers that were almost like fur.

Moa in Auckland Museum

In 1993, three trampers reported seeing a moa while hiking near Authur’s Pass in the South Island of New Zealand. They walked around a corner and came across a large reddish-brown bird. The bird ran off but former British Army Commando, Paddy Freaney took photos of the bird and the footprints it left.

The sighting made world headlines. The three trampers were questioned and their stories were identical. The photos were blurry and not positive proof of a sighting. Some people thought the sighting was a hoax to attract customers to Paddy Freaney’s nearby pub. Paddy died in 2012 and never admitted to a hoax.

I love the idea of big birds wandering the plains of Canterbury and other locations in New Zealand. There are still occasional finds of moa bones and sometimes rarer moa eggs. Visitors can learn more about the moa in our museums.

My fascination led me to use these birds in one of my House of the Cat books, Hunted & Seduced. My characters Ellard and Gweneth meet the giant birds while they’re in the jungle on the planet Narenda.

What do you think of the trampers’ report? Hoax or not?

13 Animals and Birds that Mate for Life

Thursday Thirteen

As a romance author, I believe in happy relationships and happy endings. I live them everyday while write and reading my books. While some humans are monogamous, there is an equal number of those who cheat or move on to another partner for one reason or another.

The other day I was thinking about this and wondered what other animals or birds mated for life.

Thirteen Animals and Birds that Mate for Life

1. Swans

2. Wolves, which makes the werewolf the perfect hero/heroine in a romance novel.

3. Penguins

4. Gibbon Apes

5. Barn owls

6. Brolga cranes

7. Pigeons

8. Cockroaches

9. Bald Eagle

10. Termites

11. French Angel fish

12. Royal NZ Albatross

Albatros Colony

13. Atlantic puffin

Like humans there are exceptions with the above birds and animals, but generally the creatures in this list stay with the same mate throughout their lives.

You already know I adore a happy ever after story. When you read a book featuring romantic elements, do you enjoy cliffhanger endings, or do you like all the plot strands to tie up and the characters to walk off into the sunset together?

Is this the face of a murderer?

Bella

I was out for most of the day, and I arrived home with my spiffy-looking hair to find Bella waiting at the door for me to let her inside. That’s not unusual, but what was out-of-the-ordinary was the body lying beside her.

Now, I know Bella gets a little irked at the birds taking baths in her water bowl. She chases them away if she sees them splashing in her bowl, but did she catch this bird and swiftly dispatch it?

Shelley, the detective, did some detecting…

1. There were no feathers littering the scene of the crime. They were all still on the bird.

2. Bella hadn’t tried to snack on the body. It was fully intact.

3. When Mr Munro removed the body there was blood pooled beneath the body. Shelley refused to touch it!

Detective Shelley concluded that this is not the face of a murderer and the bird killed itself by flying into the window.

Ah, the relief. We’re not harboring a felon.

In Quest of the Tuatara

We’ve visited Wellington several times and Zealandia before.(formerly known as the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary) Last time our visit was during the winter and since we both really wanted to see a tuatara, we decided to try our luck again.

Zealandia is an inland island – sanctuary for some of our rarest native birds. The entire place is surrounded by a tall, pest-proof fence that keeps out wild cats, stoats, weasels, possums, rats and other introduced pests that decimate our native bird population.

The site was previously a water reservoir for the city, but since Wellington has grown it became unviable. There was also the problem of an earthquake hitting. The area was replanted with native trees and turned into a sanctuary.

Old Resevior

This is the old reservoir.

Native Duck

Native New Zealand duck – the scaup. It’s the smallest of our native ducks. The scaup is a diving duck and disappears for long moments under the water.

Takahe

This is a takahe, one of our flightless birds. It was thought to be extinct after 1898 but was rediscovered in 1948. There are two takahe at Zealandia – a pair – although they are infertile so are not adding to the low population. They eat tussocks, grass, shoots and insects.

Kakariki

This is the kakariki parakeet, one of NZ’s natives. They have become endangered due to loss of their natural habitat.

The day of our visit was warm and sunny – the perfect weather to tempt the tuataras out of their burrows. Tuatara are rare reptiles that are found only in New Zealand. I’d never seen one before since they mostly live on off shore islands and at a few sanctuaries.

We saw their burrows and finally, much to our excitement we spotted a tuatara!

Tuatara in Disguise

Tuatara

I still get excited whenever I think about seeing them. We watched them for ages, not that they do much except sit there soaking in the heat from the sun. It was a real privilege to see such a rare creature.

Is there any animal or bird that you would like to see in person?

You’d Better Watch Out…

Dear Mr. Thrush,

Thrush

This is your last warning. If you don’t stop looting and plundering my strawberries…

Strawberries

I’ll take strong measures and shoot you with my supersoaker. You have been warned!

A New Zealand Tui

Camera Critters

This is a photo of a tui, one of New Zealand’s native birds. The tui is a very good mimic and each tui has its own repertoire of sounds. Some copy farmers whistling for dogs and others have been known to copy humans speaking. They can sound quite guttural with clicks and song. This is one native bird that has managed to adapt well. It gathers nectar and is quite bossy. A tui also has a distinctive white tuff of feathers on its neck.

Tui

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters

Ready For Take-Off

Camera Critters

My hubby went out with his brother on his boat this weekend. He took this photo of a shag drying its feathers at the marina.

Photobucket

To see more animal or bird photos visit Camera Critters

All By Myself

Camera Critters

This week I’m posting a photo of an ostrich, taken at Wellington Zoo. I have actually seen ostriches in the wild and have vivid memories of a male ostrich with twelve chicks running after him. This ostrich is a loner.

Photobucket

A few facts about ostriches:

1. They’re the world’s largest flightless bird.
2. They live in savannah and desert lands and get most of their water from their food.
3. Ostrich kicks are capable of killing both humans and predators such as lions.
4. Ostriches live in small herds with an alpha male taking charge (I wonder if anyone has written an ostrich shifter???)
5. Ostriches do not hide their heads in the sand, but they do lie low and attempt to flatten themselves against the ground as a way of hiding.
6. Ostrich meat is delicious to eat (according to Mr. Munro) and very healthy for you.
7. They live for about 30 – 40 years in the wild.

Source: National Geographic

To see more animal photographs visit Camera Critters.

Tap, Tap, Tap!

No, that’s not me writing, tapping away on my keyboard. That’s the noise I hear while I’m writing. Now that our trees have grown we have a lot of thrushes and blackbirds visiting our garden. At this time of the year they hunt out snails, cart them to the nearest concrete path and start thumping them to break the shells so they can dine.

I was going to take photos of all the empty shells, but Mr. Munro used the blower today and blew them away. The bird’s favorite killing ground seems to be under the clothes line. Every time I go out there during summer, I stand on the empty shells. It’s most annoying because I never remember to grab my shoes and end up standing on the sharp, snail shells.

Do you have any interesting wildlife at your place?



  • Page 1 of 2
  • 1
  • 2
  • >