The Northland Age

My garden sure is one busy place

- Robin Shepherd

It is always interestin­g to look out of my kitchen window. The immediate scene is of garden, lawn, shrubbery and trees. There is a bird bath in the garden, which I fill with water regularly.

It seems that this small world is attractive to birds and other creatures.

At least one of the creatures is nocturnal and visits most nights paying attention to the lemon tree and the ripe fruit it peels meticulous­ly. I can only assume that this a possum.

It has been very thorough and has dealt to the last ripe lemon so I assume he or she will now have to look elsewhere for ripe lemons or else change diet. The day-time visitors include a pair of rabbits, which graze the lawn.

A couple of pukeko likewise, but they seem more interested in excavating the roots of carrot weed plants in the lawn.

Half a dozen turkeys will occasional­ly strut their stuff, making a few pecks at something. Two magpies have a daily fiveminute presence as they imperiousl­y strut their stuff keeping all other bird life away while they hunt in the garden.

I suspect that they target the little brown skinks, which are quite numerous this year

The bird bath is well patronised and during the course of a day two mynas, a thrush, a blackbird, two tui, numerous sparrows and families of white eyes will be seen cavorting in the water.

Some of these visitors are easily disturbed while others tolerate a limited amount of my presence.

The other highly visible visitors are the monarch butterflie­s, which are attracted by the swan plants on which they lay eggs that have a very short shelf life as they are preyed on by the all-toocommon paper wasps.

This passing scene is nothing special as I am sure that many gardens in our part of the world have similar activity with a variety of animal life.

The garden also has visits by weta, huhu beetles and once a year the possible flight of puriri moths. Less welcome is the slinking presence of a feral cat or a stoat or a weasel.

There was a time when brown quail also visited but I suspect that predators have wiped them out in this valley.

I feel lucky to be able to have many of these visitors in my backyard and long may they continue. There is a caveat, however, that feral cats, stoats, weasels and possums are all unwelcome and may be dicing with death.

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