'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Torea at the Mount

Late November last year I took this photo. Although there is no-one in sight, this is on one of the most popular beaches in New Zealand, and it is 10 metres from the busy walkway that thousands use weekly to walk around 'The Mount". If you click on it you should be able to see better why it's so special.

It's Torea, an oystercatcher, probably a variable, sitting on its nest. I'd like to hope the chicks hatched and fledged successfully. The nesting bird was certainly being treated with great respect by the many visitors on the day we were there. Variable, or Black Oystercatchers are protected, and there are probably fewer than 4,000 left. They are endemic to New Zealand, meaning they are found no-where else.


  1. Your blog is always so fascinating! Bar-tailed godwits, passionfruit, variable oystercatchers...it's always a treat to come here.

  2. I love the fact that the nest site has not been signified by officialdom but by an amateur birdlover. Perhaps not the wisest place to make a nest though of course oystercatchers would have been making nests there long before human beings arrived.

  3. Thank you Robert. I esteem your praise very highly.

    Yes YP. And that's the problem with the reclamations in China and Korea... the Godwits are hard-wired to go to certain places, they aren't as adaptable as some migratory species. They can't just circle, look down and say "Oh dear, they've turned our estuary into a golf course, we'd better go further up the coast." They just land there anyway... But their bills are only adapted only for estuarine food... So the result is pretty well inevitable.
    At the moment I am working on an exhibition that illustrates parts of the 'Godwit story'. Which of course is the story of the whole world too.

  4. Wow, that's amazing - and wonderful! How lovely that people are respecting that, and how trusting that little bird is!

  5. Wow that is so great to see, you are lucky.
    Great photo's on you rblog too.
    Hsmilton, New Zealand

  6. It was indeed a lovely sight to see Jay. And all the more amazing for all the people standing on the walkway, quietly watching the dear little bird.

    ukkiwi, thank you! And welcome to TLVD! I shall come and 'visit' you again soon.

  7. When I was in Whakatane and Thames recently I was very aware of the Oystercatchers. I have photos of the Black Oystercatchers (or Oystercatchers in the black phase) but without going back to my photos I can't recall whether they were on those trips or when I was further North at Whangarei. Whatever I was fascinated. I'm not sure why because Oystercatchers are common on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland where I have lived for much of my life.

    I hope the eggs hatch successfully.


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