Friday, June 21, 2019

Bayswater School Tree Planting

Great to be invited to Bayswater School today to help with the tree planting in the school grounds.
This is to replace the sixty year old Macrocarpa trees that recently had to be removed as they were deemed unsafe.
Great enthusiasm and turnout by the students and parent helpers.


Monday, June 10, 2019

Shore bird Census Shoal & Ngataringa Bay

Yesterday was the annual OSNZ winter census day to record shorebirds in the Auckland region. It was good to catch up with Jim after his very recent return from Alaska and meet up on the shores of Shoal and Ngataringa estuaries to count the shorebirds.

Numbers seem consistent with previous counts with some minor variations. Pied stilt seem to be visiting in slightly larger numbers and that has been consistent with my regular monthly counts.

Shorebirds are under huge pressure these days from competition with recreational interests around our coastline. Sea level rise also affects those that attempt to nest. Our long distance migratory visitors also have issue on their migratory stopover places. Numbers generally are falling.

Defending and protecting safe areas of habitat with minimal disturbance is the key locally. Trying to get the authorities to recognise and follow their own designations is the challenge. Strange decisions are made that do not reflect care or understanding of these  habitats.

The Chenier shell barrier banks of these estuaries are listed as SEA Marine 1 sites. They are an ONF ( Outstanding Natural Feature ) on the Unitary Plan but locally a new fence that has been poorly designed has allowed motor vehicles to pass through it and gain access to one of these rare geological features.

 It should be easy to get this corrected but its not. Local volunteers are now beginning to ask what is the point of these designations.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

East Coast

Good to be back North of Auckland on the East and what a stunning day visiting the three beaches to check out traps.

More to follow...……………...

Tuesday, April 30, 2019


This is such an interesting area with a history dating back to the early 1860's when the first settlers arrived at Port Albert.

 Exploring some of the inlets and settlement around the Kaipara and meeting some interesting people who live and work there.

Crane near Pahi Jetty

Pahi -Oysters fresh from the Kaipara

Parirau Zion Church

Paparoa - The Landing

More to follow...………………………...

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Miranda with Bot Soc

A stunningly beautiful sun filled day enjoying the chenier shell banks and environment of the Miranda Shorebird Reserve. Today the Auckland Botanical Society are exploring the area to add to  the species list for this shell bank habitat.

Meeting at the shorebird centre we were soon off to a slow walk to see the road side mistletoe (Ileostylus micranthus) struggling to survive on a dying host tree.

More to follow...………………...

Friday, April 19, 2019

Dotterel Forum 2019

On Tuesday 16th April  I attended the annual dotterel forum at Ambury Regional Reserve and it was just great to see such a turn out. Each year this has added new people who work hard to give the Northern New Zealand dotterel a helping hand particularly over the summer holiday period to successfully nest and rear chicks.

Summer is the period that these birds are under pressure from competing recreational interests that threaten to risk their breeding success.
Its always good to catch up with friends and other people working hard to give nature a hand.

More to follow.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


Sat 16th March
 on the Miranda Coast enjoying the space and shorebirds.

Sun 17th March
The Kauaeranga Valley staying at the Whangaiterenga DOC forest campsite. Delightful forest walks with tomtits following along the trackside.

 Memories of walking to the Pinnacles hut in 2012 from this amazing valley came flooding back. The road is still an unforgiving axle breaker and gets flooded out at times when the river is just a raging torrent.

Monday 18th and Tues 19th
  North to Coromandel Township - a great ride passing some memorable places. This is a great coastline to experience amazing sunsets over the Firth of Thames towards the Hunua ranges.

 Staying at  Shelly beach for a couple of nights just North of Coromandel .

 Pateke ducks here at the end of the beach and variable oystercatcher roosting too. Morning rail ride on the Driving Creek railway through some amazing bush. That's always been on my bucket list. Its now ticked off.

Wed 20th
 Then to the Whangapoua and the William Mangakahia lagoon reserve to walk the rocky coast and then follow the track  over the hill to New Chums beach. This is just a stunning location and I began to consider that maybe we should just leave some of these place to nature  and resist the need to access everywhere. I felt it was a pure privilege to set foot on this beach.

 Next stop Matarangi. This seemed familiar but I have never been here before but gradually remembered  an invitation to stay here some years ago to assist with some dotterel minding. Unfortunately that didn't happen. A freedom camp site at the reserve by the boat ramp was perfect for watching the sun go down over the Coromandel hills.

Thurs 21st
Otama beach and Opito via some narrow gravel roads. More stunning beaches and then South via Whitianga to rest the night at Cooks Beach. A beautiful day with still warm sea temperatures and access later to an outside swimming pool. The next morning a return look at Ferry Landing and the old dairy recorded on my Rural Rides featured on my web site has now been renovated to a little café.

Fri 22nd
Hahei in the misty rainfall but still looks stunning with small offshore islands. Great walk up to the pa site.

Sat 23rd
 Hot Water beach. Well there is only one thing to do here and that is dig sand!!!

Sun 24th
Tarua and Pauanui. Counted 51 NZ dotterel and 1 banded dotterel on the Ocean beach near the Royal Billy Point Park. High tide was 10.28 at 2 metres my count was at 1.15pm. Also 7 Variable oystercatcher on the beach.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Miranda -Year of the Wrybill.

Great day at Miranda. Good to catch up with the team. Interesting talk about the braided rivers of the South Island that are so important as Wrybill and other rare bird breeding areas...…………...

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Shakespeare Regional Park

We took the van to Shakespeare park today. It was wet and windy but a walk up the beach after passing through the predator fence is always worth it.

More to follow...…………...

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Waihi Beach to Coromandel

Just heading out of the door. More to follow...…………………..

Friday, February 8, 2019

MINTS at Rangataua

I have just returned from the Tongariro National park. Rangataua was our base this year to allow us to explore a little of the Ohakune side of the mountain for a change. I walked the Tongariro crossing in 2009 and have been fascinated by this area ever since.

Rangataua is a small community outside of Ohakune. A slight hiccup as we arrive because the batch had no water due to the very low water table and the pump unable to give us more than a cup full from the well. However Sooz is on the phone and soon finds other suitable accommodation to sleep five this time and soon we are unpacking for a second time.

Our first day is straight up the mountain to explore.

 Photos and more to follow...………………...

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Radio NZ

On Friday morning their was a Radio NZ broadcast about the PFAS Report (Navy Firefighting Foam pollution in Ngataringa Bay) 

Radio NZ approached our BEAC group ( Bayswater Environment Action Coalition) group for comment.

Today a Stuff report was published on the same subject 

Friday, February 1, 2019

Inzide Outzide.

A late post. On Wednesday a local Barry's point business Inzide ( met at the Patuone walkway to clear rubbish from the reserve.

Anna Baine the Council Ranger gave an introductory talk and then at the estuary edge I gave a short introduction to the birds to be found in the estuary.

Then it was all action clearing heaps of rubbish including tyres washed up ito the mangroves. A great effort by all.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Fairy Tern Chick

A day spent watching a well fed Fairy Tern chick at 37 days begging for more food. Photos and more to follow...………………...

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year

Monday, December 31, 2018

New Years Eve on the sand dunes

A catch up with a Fairy Tern chick. A very worrying time as black backed and redbill gulls raid nearby NZ dotterel nests eating their eggs. We also watched a gull return to an already wrecked nest earlier in the day and devour the remaining shell left nearby on the sand while chased by the parent dotterel still guarding their nest

...……………… more to follow.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve and its hissing down.

Its going to be a wet day on the East coast watching over a Fairy Tern chick...……. And it certainly was. Sitting rather uncomfortably under a beach umbrella in the persistent wind driven rain we watched over the nest and each feed of the Fairy Tern chick by the adult birds was recorded.

The rain never let up and then it was a wet walk crossing a stream inlet to the river  and there we were able to watch four rare Pateke ( brown Teal) ducks swimming downstream.

Back at the tent we were able to start cooking a  Christmas eve meal which was very welcome. Such a contrast to the previous week when it had been a day of sunshine.

Monday, December 17, 2018


Its a hot day shared with Fairy Tern, Caspian tern and many other birds.

And today the birds are very territorial due to nests with eggs and and young chicks however this Caspian pair have a rather large juvenile under their wing but are still fiercely defensive and protective .

More to follow...……………..

Monday, December 10, 2018


First couple of nights at Whananaki DOC site above the beach. Located a dotterel nest with three eggs and Vincent contracted to DOC to manage the campsite helped me tape fence the nest area to stop cars coming over the dunes from crushing the eggs. A variable oystercatcher struggles to protect her single chicks from dogs. High tide roost of fifty variable oystercatchers on edge of Whananaki estuary.
Had to take a look at the bridge across to Whananaki South. Its the longest in the Southern hemisphere.

Whangaruru Harbour -South
Then onto Oakura on the Whangaruru harbour. Gannets feeding and white fronted tern on the rocks next to red-billed gull colony.A  neat campsite overlooking the water and looking across to the Whangaruru peninsular and Puriri DOC campsite our next destination.

 Whangaruru Harbour -North
Puriri is an excellent DOC Reserve campsite which is at this time of the year not busy and just a delightful place to enjoy walks swims and the tame wildlife. A Variable oystercatcher  pair have two chicks a few weeks old and parade these up and down the beach and when concerned the chicks are ushered by the parents to hide under the roots of old the old puriri trees. The male adult is not that old showing brown plumage and he is incredible tame and will take food from campers hands. He flies back and forward after pecking fleshy scraps from oystercatcher shells on the rocks and flies in to deliver food to the chicks.
Another day spent at Puriri bay earning refreshing swim after  walks in the hills high above the bay and spending time watching wild bees and solitary gannets dive for fish.

Moving on we arrive in Russell, Its a long time since I have visited this busy little town. We enjoyed a meal at the water front then escaped to the hillside camp to enjoy the sunset from the van.

Aroha Island
Crossed the causeway and settled in to explore this ecosanctuary. Enjoyed the bush walks circumnavigating the island. In the evening after watching a spectacular sunset we headed out kiwi watching with our head torches covered in red cellophane. No luck, too many people noisily doing the same.

Uretiti DoC campsite

Monday, November 26, 2018

Storm and a dead dolphin

Heavy rain is forecast but the sun was shining early on and this lulled us into not quite watching the approaching weather carefully enough. Suddenly there was a huge torrential downfall shortly followed by a load crack of thunder directly above.

 Sitting under a small sun umbrella with a metal scope, metal tripod, metal binoculars and camera watching the birds suddenly felt quite vulnerable. We decided to make a run for it  to the shelter of a very large macrocarpa tree not too far away.. I then imagined that tomorrows news would relate the story of two people crushed by a very large macrocarpa tree

Later DOC phoned to say they were coming to help bury a dolphin that had been washed up about a kilometre up the beach and so we headed there and later the others joined us after  we had by then dug a reasonable sized pit in the sand above the high tide mark. DNA samples were taken and measurements were made.  A Karakia, a  Maori prayer, was conducted before we buried this unfortunate Common Dolphin

 More to follow...……………..

Monday, November 19, 2018

Game on

Its been a tense time waiting to see if the male Fairy Tern would attract a female but its happened and today the male was frantically fishing and feeding her with fish with the occasional copulation as the reward.

More to follow...………………….