Strange birdsong may be the key

The Hochstetter ice falls, Mount Cook, two miles across at the widest part. - Otago Witness, 12.7...
The Hochstetter ice falls, Mount Cook, two miles across at the widest part. - Otago Witness, 12.7.1911 COPIES OF PICTURE AVAILABLE FROM STAR STATIONERY SHOP, LOWER STUART ST, OR WWW.OTAGOIMAGES.CO.NZ
Judging from a letter received from Mr Hugh Girdlestone, who has been engaged in survey work on the Tararua Ranges for some time, there is a possibility of the huia being found not very far from Wellington. Mr Girdlestone was recently, with his party, on the Kapakapanui peak, 3636ft high, inland of Waikanae, and in a letter to Mr W. H. Field, M.P., he states (says the Wellington Post) that his men, who are familiar with native bird life, reported to him that they had heard the note of a strange bird, which from their description he believed to be a huia.

Furthermore, he met an old settler who told him that about the same time he saw a huia in the bush.

It is, Mr Field adds, a belief among the natives there that if the huia is to be found anywhere it will be found in the locality, and that is borne out by the fact that 20 years or so ago it was not an uncommon occurrence for them to be seen in the bush. Mr Field has seen the hon. D. Buddo on the subject, and it is probable that an attempt will be made to capture huias in that locality. If the search is successful the birds will be placed on Kapiti Island.

The lending department of the Free Public Library was opened to the public on Monday last, and present indications point to the fact that it will be widely availed of. Up to yesterday 300 applications had been made for readers' tickets, the duration of which will be a year or two years, according to the pleasure of the committee.

It is fully anticipated that the opening of the circulating branch will have the effect of creating a much wider interest in the institution as a whole. The children's lending department has now been open for 12 months, and during that period over 400 readers' tickets were issued. Tickets for the current year are now being issued, and already 170 have been applied for.

• "Smudging out Jack Frost" is one of America's enterprises. The process is impressively illustrated in a magazine, The World To-day. The weapon used is the "smudge pot," charged with coal and kerosene.

On the night of April 12, in the Grand Valley of Colorado, frost threatened a blossoming fruit area 23 miles long. The orchardists were prepared for such a sneak thief, and smoked him out. They lit the "smudge pots" and kept the air from falling below 28deg. F.

In other districts, not protected, the thermometer fell to 18deg. and 20deg., and fruit was destroyed to the extent of millions of dollars. A photograph in the magazine shows the myriad little fires flashing in the Grand Valley.

• The prospecting drive at the company's property, Kaitangata mine, is now down over 900ft. The contractors have pierced the old workings in what is known as Forrest's heading, and as this was anticipated, it should not (says the Clutha Free Press) be more than a week or so before the Forrest heading seam of coal is reached.

• A dense dense fog prevailed in Timaru on Saturday morning - so dense that for a few hours it was impossible to see more than a few yards ahead.

The fog signal at Patiti Point was brought into use for the first time, and it was found to act well. Each shot fired at the signal station costs a shilling, and as a shot is fired every five minutes in foggy weather the cost for firing for 24 hours would be 14 8s.

When members of the Harbour Board inspected the signal on Friday last they expressed the opinion (says the Herald) that this would be rather a costly item.

The engineer said he thought the cost might be reduced, as a shot every 10 minutes would be sufficient.

- ODT, 6.7.1911


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