Sunday, February 10, 2019

Bay of Plenty

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...………………….

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Tutukaka Coast revisited

Just back from a week exploring the Tutukaka coastline.  Its a favourite of mine and some time back was voted the second best coastline by the Geographic magazine,

Whale bay

Matapouri bay

Woolleys Bay

Whangaumu Bay

Ruakaka Beach

Photos and more to follow...………………...

Monday, November 5, 2018

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Protecting Nests

After stopping two groups of people from trampling this dotterel nest with two eggs I realised that it did not stand much of a chance in this location.

 Fortunately I had posts and tape in the car so decided to put a fence around the nest site. Soon the adult bird return to the nest initially pecking at one of the posts but then settling down on the nest.

Reading the new experimental hand written signage at this Wildlife Reserve I was dismayed to read and hear later from Bob and Jenny who care for this site that 9 eggs were taken over the Labour day weekend from this site and  dog prints had been seen in the area too.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Godwits take off and a Pied Shag too

As the tide increases to 3.2metres in Shoal Bay the 200 godwit become more agitated as space becomes limited on their shellbank roost site and so they are forced to find more space at another site. 

The godwit flock on the move

Heading to the next bay to find roost space from an incoming tide.

Pied stilt during take off.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Waiting to be fed

This welcome Swallow chick was just waiting so patiently to be fed and hey presto-mum or dad to the rescue. The birds love to hunt for insects above this pipe over a wetland water feature.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Welcome the Birds.- Miranda

A fine day at Miranda to welcome nearly 5000 bar-tailed godwits so far this season. Good to catch up with some familiar faces and also to meet  new people.

At the Wrybill hide an American couple from Eugene, Oregon state  explained the Court case  Juliane v. US Climate Lawsuit, in their home town that is for young people  challenging the US Government  regarding lack of action on dealing with the serious effects of Climate change that will deny Youth a future..It appears that the US Government were joined by the  Oil Industry to try and close this trial down.

 Juvenile Godwit (spotty looking) right hand side bird

Back to the birds at Miranda and today there are nearly five thousand Godwit that along with Knots have recently arrived to feed up during our Summer.

Then followed a talk by John Tregidga about the sad state of the Hauraki Gulf. John is the Mayor of Hauraki District and is involved with the Hauraki Gulf Forum and Spatial plan.
 Like so many environmental, issues fine reports are written but no action is mandated to follow.

Photos and More to follow...……………………………………..

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Royal Visit To Shoal Bay this morning.

Counting the birds, including the Godwit at  high tide this morning I was able to photograph this Royal Spoonbill flying over Shoal Bay estuary. Another 'At Risk' classified bird.

Royal Spoonbill
Royal Spoonbill with bar-tailed godwit and a pair of variable oystercatchers waiting for low tide to feed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


What a beautiful day …  Photos and more to follow...…………..

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Welcome To the Godwits.- Giving the Birds a Voice!

A great fun event today at Ngataringa Bay to welcome the arrival of the bar-tailed godwits to Shoal and Ngataringa Bays for our Summer.Great to see so many people and children too.

This event was organised by the local community, a coalition of various groups concerned about the threats to the Bayswater Environment from large scale developments plans for around this DOC designated,  Site of Significant Wildlife  Interest  (SSWI).

Development plans risk sedimentation into the estuary as has happened at the Okura estuary North of Shoal and Ngataringa estuaries. .
Following the Mihi by Danny Watson. The Devonport Druid continues the Godwit story.
The aim of the event was to welcome the bar-tailed godwit that began arriving from Alaska on September the 12th after their 11.500 kilometre flight and to highlight this local fragile environment and the risks to roosting (resting) birds using the Chenier shell banks.

Danny Watson, Philip and the Devonport Druid.

 This particular shell bank was missed off the Auckland Unitary Plan overlays and we have asked Auckland Council for its addition with an  SEA Marine 1 status.

 Today there are 219 godwit roosting (resting) on the shell bank at high tide. These numbers should increase  to nearly 300.

 A big thankyou to the organisers and helpers. A special thanks to Iain, Danny L and Steve for the heavy lifting to the site and thinking things through. Trish for supervising the young fledglings.  Thanks to Helene and the Forest & Bird Team. A grateful thanks to Oonah Caldwell for letting us use her section. A Huge thankyou to Danny Watson and the Druid.

A really important thankyou to Anna Baine, our very supportive Council Ranger for supplying the food courtesy of Auckland Council. And finally a special thankyou to all those members of the community that supported this event, not forgetting the Flagstaff for advanced successful advertising  and support.