Monday, April 22, 2013

Birds Galore

Red Crowned Parakeet
A few weeks ago we finally visited a nearby island bird sanctuary called Tiritiri Matangi. We've been meaning to go there since, oh, about a month after moving to Auckland. We're lame.

Over the last 30 years it's been made predator-free and heaps of trees were planted to make it a haven for birds. Many there are native, and many had to be re-introduced.

It didn't disappoint!  There are birds birds birds everywhere and doing the first part of the day with a guide makes it even better.

The way it works is you take a special ferry that goes once a day, pack a lunch a spend about 5 hours on the island that's full of trails, and then take the ferry back at the end of the day.  Takes about an hour to get there and works pretty well!

There were Red Crowned Parakeets like the one in this photo, Bellbirds (very musical), Tui, Stitchbirds, Brown Saddlebacks, the big New Zealand Pigeon, and the very rare (and huge) Takahe, of which there are only a couple hundred left in the world.

The volunteers there have setup a few sugar water stations for birds like the Bellbird to help you see them up close when they gather around to feast on the wonderfulness (apparently) that is sugar water.  The stitchbirds like it too, and it makes for quite the sing-song station.  Here's a brief clip of some:


I hauled along my giant telephoto lens for the day and got a few good shots of some of the birds.  See more photos here.

And finally, in case you're wondering, here's a map of where the island is in relation to central Auckland.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Jeff's New Job!

I have completed my first week at my new job!  Yep, after more than 12 years contracting at Supervalu and the last 2.5 from New Zealand, I have an actual Kiwi job for an actual Kiwi Company.

It was quite unexpected and came up rather quickly, but I'm now a Senior Consultant at Theta Systems in Auckland.  I'll be doing similar work to what I have been doing, but with a lot more potential.

Walking away from SV was a hard thing to do - I was quite comfortable there and it was a good gig.  Working from home since moving has been nice, but I was ready for an actual office environment again.  I just felt right, I guess, and here we are.

There is so much to learn and do on a high visibility project, but that's part of the fun I guess.  It just so happens that my first two weeks on the job, though, are four day weeks because of Good Friday and Easter Monday.  So that's nice.  Well, it's just nice getting to have NZ public holidays off for a change!

The office is just 1.5km (< 1mile) from home so I can easily walk to work.  Nice.  And when it rains I can catch a bus a block from home and get dropped off two blocks from work.  Very nice.  I like that a lot.

So things are very exciting right now, what with Anne's new jobs as well.  It's great.  And let's just say there is lots of takeaway being had at our house lately.  :-)