All but four days of my six weeks centred round my parents home so what better to do than watch and listen to the birds.
I was lucky to be able to study a family of Tuis. At one stage up to five were in the bottle brush tree in their garden, although I couldn't get a photo of all five together. I think it must have been a family group.
The Latin name for Tui is Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae and it is an endemic passerine bird of New Zealand. The early European colonists called it the parson bird, but the Maori name tūī has been its common name for many many years.
From the distance you may think it is black, but its feathers are more brown and have a multicoloured iridescent sheen that varies depending on the way the light strikes them. They have small white feathers on the back and sides of their neck, a bit like a lacy collar and a small tuft of white feathers at its neck (perhaps it was this resemblance to a parson in clerical attire that caused the early settlers to give it the name parson bird). The tui also has a small white wing patch.
Singing its little heart out, I couldn't decide if this was a young bird or a parent after the breeding season, as it looked rather bedraggled!
You can see the sheen of blues and greens on its feathers in these photos.
This was a young tui, its wattle at its neck not yet formed. You can also see the curve of its beak.
It was enjoying the nectar from the bottle brush and you can see the sheen on its wing feathers in these photos.
This photo shows the white on its side and the tops of its wing feathers.
These photos clearly show an older bird with the wattle at its throat