The week beginning 25th January, 2003
Sunday 26th
Shining cuckoo

My old Cattin cat brought in the first bird I've seen him with in the last ten years.  It would have to be a Shining Cuckoo, wouldn't it?  Maybe if you only bring two birds home in your lifetime, you might as well make the second a special one.

close up of Shining Cuckoo head

The nostrils of this bird are an interesting shape.

Tuesday 28th

Stephan and Gisela just kept on going, clipping almost every yellow ragwort flower on the farm, bagging them and bringing them home ready for burning.

Stephan and Gisela: the ragwort raiders

The first big fire to get rid of all the flowers and seeds.

ragwort on fire!
Thursday 30th
Gisela, flaked out on the back of the tractor

By the end of today, Gisela came home in a much more collapsed state.

Friday 31st
Ms Duck in her new plumage

What a nice way to end the month - Ms Duck returned this morning.  There were twelve ducks out on the paddock, who all took to the sky when I wandered out for a look, but as they flew around and over toward me again and I called to them, this very familiar bird flew down and landed near me.

Gisela and Stephan triumphant over finishing the beheading of the ragwort

Then the Ragwort Rippers returned, triumphant in their completion of the job!

roof-sitting duck

Watched of course by our reinstalled roof-sitter.

a huge roaring ragwort bonfire

Later on, when the wind had dropped, we went out and set fire to the rest of the ragwort, on a big bonfire we'd been building since last year.  The moisture level around here is still sufficient to make setting fire to things relatively safe, although in other parts of northland this would be extremely risky.

Simon, Gisela, Lynn, Stephan and I sat comfortably with some refreshments and enjoyed the fire.

sitting along a bank, watching the fire