Friday, October 18, 2019

WA 2019

Wadjemup Island to search for Osprey and Aus Fairy Tern in particular and any other wildlife that I may be fortunate to observe.  It's Good to be back to this stunning Island. I read that it has 9 species of seagrass species in the surrounding ocean which makes this second to Shark bay further North for having this important plant life.

 I soon relocate osprey stack nests found on previous visits to this amazing island which is an A class wildlife Reserve. I decide to visit one of my favourite nests with stunning views all around.
 I waited patiently for two hours for what I presume is the male bird who then eventually started  hunting for fish. After nearly three quarters of an hour and several unsuccessful dives this amazing bird with a 1.5 metre wingspan dived down and came up holding a large fish in one of  its amazing talons. It then returned to the stack nest and landed on the edge of the nest offering the fish to its partner and possibly chicks too. The birds then settled down out of sight to devour their meal.

Next it was time to move on and visit the NZ fur seal colony at the Cape Vlamingh end of the Island. The seals were chilling out below the observation platform. The previous day I had also visited this lookout point and had also watched an Osprey dive for fish and then take it back to the large stack nest viewable from the excellent walkway at Vlamingh head.

I then decided to follow an old trail back along the coast as the temperature was just right for walking at 18C rather than the 36C that I have experienced on previous visits. This was a walk with stunning views of small bays with a final walk along the beautiful white sand Majorie  beach to Rocky bay.

While waiting for the bus that does a circular clockwise tour of the island I heard the unmistakable sound of fairy Tern diving for fish in the bay below. It was a pair and they stayed until my bus came to return to where I was staying for a few nights.

photos and more to follow...……………..

Friday, September 27, 2019

Climate Strike -Auckland

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Putuone Walkway upgrade-Tree destruction

We have now found out that the Takapuna end of the Patuone walkway upgrade will require that between 12 - 20 karaka trees will have to be destroyed. This makes no sense at all. Local volunteers have been monitoring a pest control line for some years here to support the NWWLink.

In the book 'Auckland's Remarkable Urban Forest' by Mike Wilcox this is described as a little rock forest with karaka, kohekohe and swamp maire. There is also a kahikatea tree that is between 100-200 years old. Kereru, tui, fantail are seen here and kaka have also been recorded.

More to follow........................................................................................................

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Patuone Reserve Walkway

This afternoon Trish and I presented at the Devonport and Takapuna Local Board Forum on behalf of BEAC ( Bayswater Environment Action Coalition) & Forest & Bird with the local residents of Byron Street.

This was to raise some concerns surrounding the upgrading and enlargement of the walkway to become a shared walkway with cyclists. The solution proposed by Auckland Council and to be part funded by the Local Board was to construct a boardwalk/bridge across part of this Upper Shoal estuary to cut a corner at the point shown in the photograph below..

Our No1 concern is that the scale of this 2.5 path could easily become  a transport link from Takapuna to the Harbour Bridge through this now quiet and valuable wildlife rich reserve..

There seemed to be no understanding that this area is designated as an SSWI ( Site of Significant Wildlife Interest)  with Ecological overlays on the Unitary plan.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Three Eastern Curlew & a Working Bee!

I am half way through an excellent book about the Eastern Curlew by an Australian writer Harry Saddler. This delightful book has kindly been loaned to me by Claire Stevens.

 Today I am at Miranda helping with a working bee around the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, I'm into the weeding to help the planted coastal saltmarsh ribbonwood to be able to thrive. Fortunately there was time just before high tide to slip away to the bird hides nearby at the Findlay Reserve.

 Thousands of the endemic ( found only in New Zealand) wrybill delight while they frantically feed from the mud in a rhythmic motion scraping their right turned beaks across the surface biofilm. They are sifting the nutriments that they require for their late August  migration back to the braided rivers of the South Island to breed..

High percentage of total wrybill World population visit Miranda 

Wrybill-a unique bird with a bent to the right beak.

Juvenile godwits are also seen, birds that have not made the epic flight to Alaska this season. There are however three much larger uncommon migrant wader birds to be seen and these are the rare and now endangered  Eastern Curlew feeding on  the mudflats straight out in front of the Godwit hide.

Eastern curlew towers over four wrybill.

Three in a Row -Far Eastern Curlew.

Bar-tailed godwit with larger Eastern Curlew behind

This  amazing day finished with an excellent Potluck dinner at the centre followed by two films one still at the editing stage  about the extraordinary and exciting PGP ( Pacific Golden Plover Project) which has been co-ordinated by Jim Eagles at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre..

Friday, August 9, 2019

Here we go again!

Once again the GD05 Auckland  Council guidelines for sediment management on development sites are woefully inadequate to cope with the amount of rainfall we  experience these days.

Below the development Stage 1 at Rutherford Street the area is covered in sediment laden water again as on Christmas day flowing via the swale into Shoal Bay estuary.

Down stream of this spill is the area that Godwit choose to roost and feed when they return form Alaska in September. Other birds that feed here ar wrybill, South Island pied oystercatcher, Variable oystercatcher and several other species. Sediment laden silt build up is not good for these birds.

Below the Hillary Crescent development the decant sediment pond has also overflowed pouting water across the Northboro Reserve pathway.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Shoal Bay - August Bait Pulse.

Back to check  bait stations. Nearly  all lines are being cleared of bait. There seems to have been an increase in rat activity probably due to such a warm summer period including July.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Northland -Winterless North

Forecast high winds and heavy rain have not been an issue so far and staying in historic  Kororareka is comfortable especially if sheltered from the strong Westerly winds.Wonderful Weka birds here. Enjoyable walks along Long beach which allows sightings of gannets, little shag, pied shag and a 2 metre dead shark washed up on the beach.

Then its back over the Opua vehicle ferry.

A visit to the fascinating town of Kawakawa with its historic railway undergoing restoration with rails through the main street. Watching  unsuspecting motorists competing with a diesel engine towing coaches down the main street is quite a novel site. Also  the famous Hundertwasser toilet block with the new build art centre behind is another unique attraction of this less than affluent town. Its a great place for a visit and I always enjoy coming back.

Back down the coast and a return visit to Ruakaka to watch birds in the estuary and dodge squally rain clouds that fortunately pass quickly heading out to sea.

Photos & more to follow...……………..

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Western Springs

Exploring the ponds and rocks of Western Springs with Bot Soc. Lead by Ben Goodwin and Mike Wilcox who have been surveying the biodiversity of plant life of this area for the last six months.

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.