Auckland - West

Mainly West of Queen Street - seen through my lens

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Painted Boxes: Spoonbills + Japan

Royal Spoonbills (Dan Mills)

Royal Spoonbills (Dan Mills)

This painted utility box is the work of artist Dan Mills. It is on railway land on the northern exit of Henderson station, between the staff car park of Waitakere Central and the western branch of Railside Avenue (map) – not all that easy to spot. Looking over from Railside Avenue we see a pair of Royal Spoonbills, pictured above. Royal spoonbills (Platalea regia, Kotuku Ngutu Papa) come to the Auckland region during the winter months, at which time I have seen them in various places around the Manukau Harbour or the Firth of Thames, but also at Western Springs, which is almost in the city. They breed mainly in the South Island, notably at Okarito.

The other sides of the box show a Japanese-inspired garden theme, no doubt echoing the Japanese Garden adjacent to the Waitakere Central administration building. This garden was a gift of Waitakere City’s sister city Kakogawa (1997). Originally the garden was established at the old Council premises in Waipareira Avenue, but when Waitakere City Council moved in 2006, the garden moved with it, a peaceful place beside the council building, with formal gardens, seating, and water features.

Japanese Inspired Scene (Dan Mills)

Japanese Inspired Scene (Dan Mills)

Visit Dan Mills’ website. He has done more murals and painted boxes in Auckland and other places.

Read more about the Japanese garden.

Spoonbill, Wood Bay

Spoonbill, Wood Bay

Spoonbill, Wood Bay

Following on from yesterday’s spoonbill theme, here is an image of a spoonbill in flight, taken in Wood Bay in June 2006. This was a chance encounter rather late in the afternoon in difficult light.

Royal Spoonbill

Royal Spoonbill and One Tree Hill

Royal Spoonbill and One Tree Hill

Still chasing birds, I caught this Royal Spoonbill from the bay at the Manukau Boating Club, Mangere, in the late afternoon sun. One Tree Hill in the background.

Spoonbills at Western Springs

In the Willows

In the Willows

We went for a walk around Western Springs, yesterday. The tree that used to be full of shags had been claimed by a flock of Royal Spoonbills, some resting in the shrubbery, some apparently gathering twigs. The last (and only) time that I saw spoonbills at Western Springs was 11 years ago.

These birds can look so comical!

More spoonbills here.

A Commotion of Royal Spoonbills

A Commotion of Royal Spoonbills

Royal Spoonbill

Royal Spoonbill

Spoonbills

Royal Spoonbill, Western Springs

Royal Spoonbill, Western Springs

Repeating last year’s performance, Royal Spoonbills are again paying a visit to Western Springs. When I saw them, they were again on the coprosma tree with its shiny green leaves, and also on the willow beside where they appeared to strip the leaves off the twigs.

Royal Spoonbills, Western Springs

Royal Spoonbills, Western Springs

Royal Spoonbills, Western Springs

Royal Spoonbills, Western Springs

Royalty

Three Spoonbills

Three Spoonbills

Today is the official observance of the Queen’s birthday in New Zealand (and, of course, it’s the central weekend of her Diamond Jubilee). To celebrate the long weekend, I am showing a royal subject: a group of Royal spoonbills (Platalea regia) that I observed last week from Orpheus Drive. They usually are somewhere around the Manukau Harbour, but it has been a few years since I last came across them. Shortly after this shot, they attempted to land again on the breakwater of volcanic rocks behind the mangroves, but they made a right royal mess of that, and took to the air again, landing successfully after rounding the spot once more. (Blue sky would have been a bonus, at least there was good light,)

[For Monarchy in New Zealand, check out wikipedia. Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of New Zealand (official title: “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of New Zealand and Her Other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith”) and 14 other Commonwealth realms apart from the UK.]

Helter Skelter

Helter Skelter

Balancing Act

Royal Spoonbill at Western Springs

Royal Spoonbill at Western Springs

The spoonbills seem to enjoy their stay at Western Springs. The high skeleton tree is a particular favorite, the higher the better!

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