Entertainment in your garden

There’s a manuka tree that slightly overhangs the rail on one side of our deck.

Our manuka tree has weathered many a storm over the years and has started to look increasingly sparse and unsightly. However, nothing could have prepared me for the significant damage recently caused by a storm with no name.

On the night of Tuesday 10 April, the wind lashed viciously through our property. Several branches of our pohutukawa tree were snapped off, but the manuka tree fared the worst. The tree was smashed so hard that only two branches have any foliage remaining. The rest of the tree has been reduced to a jagged row of snapped, split spikes.

The following morning, in the clear light of day, the manuka tree looked awful. The day before, I had seen five tui birds bouncing around in this tree like mischievous monkeys. As I surveyed the damage, I began to worry that the birds would stop coming.

Never one to disappoint, King Tui, our resident male tui, swooped in, clutched onto a remaining branch and proceeded to sing very loudly. Presumably, he was staging a protest about the sudden modifications to his territory. His outrage attracted another male tui to the scene. This newcomer was his equivalent in size and attitude. It was apparent to me that a battle would ensue, and it surely did. They fought very noisily in the remainder of the manuka tree. The only positive was that I no longer had foliage in the foreground of my shots, so I was able to capture some stunning images of these two beautiful birds.

At the time of writing this, 10 days have passed and the brawling hasn't ceased. King Tui has begun exploring how best to expand on his territory and is spending a great of his time bouncing around in the middle of the deck on our furniture.

It seems to me that I need to hire a creative arborist to turn my manuka tree into a jungle gym and, if that other male tui hangs around for much longer, I am going to give him a name. I think I will name him Storm. (HEIDI PADAIN)

To see some of Heidi’s other photographic work, go to www.flickr.com and type Heidi Padain into the search box, or, you can contact Heidi by email hidihi@xtra.co.nz, or look her up on Facebook... Heidi Padain Photography.