Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Forgotten Highway & New Plymouth



Monday, December 22, 2014

All lit up like a Christmas Tree!

Mingimingi berries
It was a hot summers day and the coast was quiet but suddenly we were aware of a juvenile oystercatcher being bullied by another bird. We intervened and hoped the young VOC would recover, it seemed that it couldn't yet fly and its parents had gone.

 Later we watched  7 Fairy Tern below the forest beach that last Monday was just sand blown with wave driven surges of sea water into the river. Last week it was too dangerous to cross but today was fine. The terns were a mix of adult and juvenile but they did not appear to be laying down nests or eggs or fishing today but just preening themselves looking diminutive alongside three white-fronted terns.

Before dusk we had dinner on the little deck overlooking the  stream and a fern bird flitted from muehlenbeckia to muehlenbeckia bush. The sunset was vivid red and so we went for a walk through the dunes to the beach for high tide. The sand-dunes and sand plants were tinged with a pink/ orange glow and looked beautiful.

We returned to the cottage and then in the darkness I wrapped myself in small solar fairly lights and surprised my friend with my arms outstretched by switching them on and saying "I'm all lit up like a Christmas tree - Merry Christmas". She cracked up laughing and asked where my power pack was. I proclaimed that I had gone Solar!  The flashing lights are now decorating a flax bush

A fun day to follow  a fun year as we toasted the many days out and adventures that we had shared during 2014.



 Wishing you all a really Happy Christmas

Catch up in 2015

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Shoal Bay-Interpretive sign

A good result to see our signage is in place at two sites around Shoal Bay.

When we met with the council at the Charles street shell bank I cheekily suggested maybe two signs and took Paul, Richard and Julian to another location near the Bayswater bridge.

Fortunately  they were enthusiastic about the idea and later the Council agreed to fund both signs so saving our precious Forest and  Bird funds.

 This is a very good result and the signs look great (just checked today).

 Thanks to Kate for putting together my photos of the birds and shell bank environment into a rather special sign.

 Thanks to Neil Fitsgerald who supplied the one bird photo, a banded dotterel, that I didn't have a decent high res shot of.

 Thanks to Paul and Julian too for their part in achieving this for the birds.

Next project -signs for Tuff Crater.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Gale Force Easterlies - I'm not crossing that!.

Today we were sandblasted and windblown like pingao grass amongst the dunes and the nesting birds have suffered badly. Some nests have been washed away and other birds have abandoned their nests.

I was referring to the river when I muttered  'I'm not crossing that'. It looked dangerous as the tide surged in carrying large logs upstream which then flowed back at some speed. The Northern side of the river would have to wait.

Same river mouth at the end of November
Photos and more to follow.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Umbrella Man/Michelin Man

Well I'm back early as work demands but had a good day watching the terns on the East coast.
My job today was maneuvering the large umbrella as the wind got up without loosing it to the sea.

I also delivered two old car tyres that I had persuaded my local garage to part with to be used to raise some nests to protect against some high Christmas tides coming soon.

Photos to follow.

Good to see signs.


I have been concerned for some time that there is inadequate signage to protect nesting birds on the  barrier shell bank at Charles street access to Shoal Bay.

 On Saturday I was pleased to see not just one sign but three DOC and Council signs at the causeway leading to the shell bank.

 This sends out a clear message to people who do not have their dogs on leash as requested by the main sign.

We are also waiting for the installation of our recently designed interpretive sign about the bird life to be found in Shoal bay

Monday, December 1, 2014

First Day of Summer!

 It was sunny with some intermittent cold showers which were accompanied by a persistent breeze. These surfers in wet suits didn't stay in the water long. There was a chill in the air with that south westerly wind. I watched a VOC settle down behind a log for some shelter.  So we hunkered down behind a sand-dune to watch the birds.

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

They've Landed!

I have just had a report from Sarah in Perth that approximately 100 Fairy Tern have returned to the Rous Head nesting site at Freemantle docks Just waiting to hopefully get some photos to add. See my earlier blog dated 7th Oct 2014.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Motuketekete Island and East Coast Stopover

Fantastic blue sky day, Summer has arrived, on Motuketekete island  just out from Sandspit. I have passed this Island and Moturerekareka Island many times on my way to Motuora Island and have always wondered what it would be like to land and explore. Yesterday I had my chance with Bot Soc and it was good to see so many familiar smiling faces with the delight of an Island visit.

 Thirty five members on two boats from Sandspit. We were met by the owners of the Island who had already arrived and they outlined the history and welcomed us to this 50 acre Island.

More photos to follow.

East Coast Stopover

At the end of our Motuteketeke visit after returning to Sandspit I met up with my 'Monday friend'  for dinner and stayed overnight in a little cottage on a river bank by the sea to allow us to spend the following day watching dotterel, oystercatcher and fairy tern on the East coast. It was a warm muggy day and the sea was just too inviting to ignore for a swim to cool off.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


A hand to hold,
A reassuring hug,
And always a welcoming smile.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Busy weekend here there and everywhere including Orewa, Clevedon and today the East coast.

The weather is not looking good with rain forecast. Its looking damp and claggy out there.

And so we spent a wet day in the dunes sheltering under a rather large umbrella between some heavy downpours while watching the terns dive for fish in the river.

 After lunch it was brighter so later  we headed further up the coast to check out another nesting site and stayed until the evening.
 There were plenty of ladybirds in the dunes and at least two shinning cuckoos in the forest behind. The beach was quiet of nesting activity and it appears that there is a predator taking NZ dotterel eggs, probably a hawk.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Check this out!

I have revamped the Naturepath web/blog  so please take a look and pass on this link.
We are trying to raise awareness and discussion about a proposed walkway and cycleway that could disturb the NZ dotterel nesting area at Shoal bay. We have proposed an alternative route -Naturepath.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Anniversary Celebration!

Just wanted to acknowledge that its been a very enjoyable two years sharing and learning with my 'Monday friend' some beautiful fun days on the East and West coasts and bush walks in between. So we celebrated with a walk along this beautiful beach and then dinner 'Al fresco' followed by white wine and strawberries to complete another lovely day.

Plenty of NZ dotterel and Variable Oystercatcher nesting activity and an exciting chase between three Fairy tern.

More photos to follow.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Waitawa Regional Reserve-Kawakawa Bay

Fantastic blue-sky day to visit this new reserve and then to drop down into Kawakawa bay for a picnic by the sea.

Photos to follow.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Rain & Shine!

Cold NZ dotterel eggs
Well yesterday was a really wet start. It was tipping down and the usual stunning views were shrouded in a thick white mist. However we sheltered under a rather large umbrella well kitted up in waterproofs and gradually the bird life improved as the weather brightened up. The dotterels were running around herding their new born chicks who were foraging for themselves and the Oystercatcher parents were busy having to feed their three fast growing young.

 The Caspian Tern did a flyby heading up river and the gannets vertically dived from great heights out to sea. Today we were looking for a pair of Fairy terns but only the male showed up on two occasions. On the  second visit it  spent a couple of hours hovering then diving and catching decent sized fish in the river.

Non native flowers in the dunes with oystercatcher tracks
 I believe it has two types of dive. One a vertical rather like a Caspian dive and the other a shallower dip into the water to catch a fish. It vocalised when catching a rather large fish as if very pleased with itself and spent some time just standing on the beach as if waiting for a female to accept to then be allowed to mate with her. Sadly no female came and in the end he swallowed the fish then spent some time thoroughly preening himself.

Late afternoon was sunny and clear as we headed across private farmland to another beach access location. The lupins and other non native plants added colour to the patches of muehlenbeckia standing out like islands in the  sand-dunes. Several dotterels and a pair of oystercatcher with nest scrapes were present. A lone dotterel chick ran from near an abandoned nest with two very cold possibly infertile eggs.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Paper Cinema's Odyssey

Wonderful theatre at the Aotea centre last night. This was a fun night out and is becoming an annual event.  The show of manipulated intricate pen and ink drawings, linked with video, projected onto a large screen and live music, cleverly entertained us. We ended the evening at a  Malaysian restaurant the name of which escapes me but the food was memorable.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Friend

It's that time of the year again with good company shared, that we move to the East coast, with days spent enjoying the  birds to be found nesting below the dunes and above the high tide line. Today we were joined by another friend explaining some serious bird call sound recording equipment that he had brought along for the project. Beau, the dotterel joined us too with time out from her nest to check us out.

The weather held up and was far better than  the forecast of heavy rain and that must have sent most  holiday public home early. We celebrated, as the light faded, with our first of many summer days spent on  this great coastline with dinner in a little cottage on the river.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Waiwera dotterels.

I  re-visited Waiwera today after checking out the foreshore at Shoal Bay.

 That sign at Waiwera read that in the 2013 breeding season out of 21 eggs only 12 chicks were hatched and then only one chick survived.

They put the low survival rate down to human and dog disturbance. Constant  disturbance of  the birds from their nests to lead people away from the nests so reducing successful chick production is the problem.

This area will now become a No Dogs area. They are waiting for the signs to go up.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Journeys End.

Bot Soc day near Journeys End on the Tapora peninsula exploring the Oruawharo river stewardship area. on the edge of the Kaipara.

 Many Thanks David for leading the walk and introducing us to Myrsine divaricate and the pretty little NZ harebell Wahlenbergia vernicollis. Ok so we got a bit wet but all in all an excellent day.

I finished the day with dinner on the East coast and a catch-up with a friend.

Myrsine divaricata

Wahlenbergia vernicollis

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rous Head WA - How Bizarre !

Is this for real? Just had to check this out on the way back from Geographe Bay and will be returning tomorrow for another look. Just a few kms along the beach from where we are staying at Cottesloe.
Fairy tern are only found in New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia. In New Zealand there are now under 50 birds left and they nest on the East and West Coast of the North Island North of Auckland. I have often watched these  with Eliane. The birds are not  colony breeders in NZ. However in Australia and New Caledonia the numbers are greater and the birds colonise, however they are still under threat, mainly due to disturbance to their nesting habitats.


Its a little early to see the birds but this one hectare site has been set aside as a sanctuary for them to nest right next to the container port at Rous Head  Freemantle. Apparently the birds nested successfully at this site, fledged 100 young and so the Port Authority have set aside this fenced area for them right next to the breakwater wall.. A great fishing spot.

Geographe Bay and the Margaret River

Staying at Geographe Bay. Watching the humpback whale migration from Cape Naturaliste. The flowers and vegetation are all so interesting and colourful.

Humpback Whale migration South

New Holland Honeyeater

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

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Perth WA by Dreamliner - Rottnest Island by ferry.

Great to be in  Perth  Its a great green city with a wonderful botanic garden in the Kings park and great river and coastal walks and cycleways. The birds are all so interesting and I have set out to photograph all that I see.

Wetland interpretive sign in Perth city centre
Galah bird in Kings park Perth

Rottnest Island off the coast of Freemantle is beautiful and we are staying right on the beach in a beautiful bay. The Island has stunning scenery and several large saltwater lakes in the centre and its here that I started my search for Fairy tern nesting sites. Its a bit early in the season but it will be good to suss out local knowledge for later in the season.

Rottnest Island secluded beaches

Osprey  Rottnest Island

White - fronted chat.  Rottnest Island
Red-capped Plover.  Rottnest Island
Crested Terns. Rottnest Island
Red-capped robin. Rottnest Isalnd
Quokka Rottnest Island
Bob-tailed lizard Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island