Saturday, April 01, 2006

Speaking of figs


And to think I neglected to mention the lovely little Silvereye or Waxeye (Tauhoe). My information tells me they prefer the fruit of native trees but will also feed on other fruiting species. Well, at least in this neck of the woods, their contribution to fig eating is legendary. Present in flocks, or flurries, as I call them, they arrive armed with hearty appetites and settle in together, like a party of diners. The only drawback with this arrangement is that a party of avian diners can become fair game to one feline diner named Lucy. On these occasions, Lucy adds a 'k' to her name and refers to herself as Lucky. Saddened by this all too natural feline instinct, I refuse to humour her.

Photograph/from the Tiritiri Matangi website

2 Comments:

Anonymous pohanginapete said...

Nice one: "flurries" is a good collective noun for tauhou. I read somewhere that the Maori name means "little stranger", presumably in response to their self introduction in the late 19th century. Don't quote me on that, though.

They're in poems too. A central theme in Keri Hulme's Fishing the Olearia tree is a description of a heron (kotuku) hunting tauhou: "...he has just finished spearing/ the daily ration/ of waxeyes in the Chatham Island Olearia, fishing the bush/ like he was fishing/ an upriver pool." Grim, but the imagery's vivid. Dreamlike (or perhaps nightmare like), particularly in the way the heron appears throughout the poem.

8:50 PM  
Blogger adagio said...

pete: must admit to never having read hulmes' poetry. but this example is more than good reason to do so. thankyou.
yes, when you watch a 'flurry' of waxeyes moving amidst the branches of a tree, the word/description seems entirely fitting.

10:05 PM  

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