Monday, June 30, 2014

Motuora Island

Great to catch up with some people met previously on Motuora and Tiri.

Shelley and Wolfgang who I hadn't seen since April 2013 when we were track clearing on the Island.

 We had on that visit forgotten to set our watches for daylight saving so headed back for lunch an hour early and were disappointed that the BBQ wasn't lit and ready but it was only 11am.

Bev and Fran I recently met in April on my last visit to Tiri and there had been a good group of people staying at that time.

Yesterday we were tree planting in the direction of the created gannet colony, complete with fake plastic gannets and a continual sound recording booming out over the sea of gannets calling.

Thanks Eliane for cooking dinner and for an enjoyable relaxing fun evening as always..

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

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Congratulations Margi and BWT.

I arrived  just in  time at Sylvan Park for Margi's speech in celebration of  a 10 year birthday for her very popular bush walking programme called 'Bush Walk and Talk' (BWT).

 A good crowd had turned up for a walk by the lake and I just had to get a group photo of this event.

I knew that Margi would be leading the group to see  the just into flowering  Kohekohe, Dysoxylum Spectabile. 

This tree caught my imagination when I learnt that a sample of the flowers were taken on Captain James Cook's 1769 NZ expedition to GT Britain and then over 200 years later were gifted back to New Zealand. The framed botanical sample is stored at Te Papa museum and on a visit to Wellington last year I hoped to see this but unfortunately its not on display at the museum at that time.

I was sorry that I couldn't stay for the walk today but had some other commitments.

Well done Margi and hopefully BWT will still be going strong in another ten years.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Mataia Homestead on the Kaipara

It was a year ago during May 2013 that Eliane and I were at the launch of Nature Space at the 'Cloud' on Auckland's waterfront. The lovely people from the Mataia homestead, Gill and Kevin were speaking about their decision and the process of managing  the Mataia farm  estate towards an ecological estate to increase the biodiversity  so attracting native species.

Eliane had been involved in some work on the land at the  edge of the Kaipara so it was an interesting talk for both of us.
 It was a great evening celebrating my May birthday with the hilarious  bow- tie gift incident from Eliane and Sally from  Mid-North, Forest and Bird .  The  story is too long  to recount here but it left both Eliane and I in fits of laughter.

Last weekend Mataia Estate and homestead was featured on Country calendar with kiwi birds released that were trans located from  Motuora island.

Today we visiting the Mataia homestead with Bot Soc .  Its great to see so many familiar faces including Margi and Richard from Forest & Bird and Neil and Joe too. Jill had made fresh scones for us and with a cup of tea and gave an introduction to our day with maps and aerial photos.

We are soon heading off in a convoy of cars to the start of our walk at the sand quarry. Soon we were walking through bush with interesting species including this rarely seen Corybas orchid.

The walk took us through Kanuka and Manuka bush and then along the edge of the kaipara harbour. Gill was resetting the Timms traps with apple  to attract possum and all traps were set about 700cm high to prevent inquisitive Kiwi getting accidentally caught.  Stopping at the side of the coastal track we heard the illusive fernbirds in the Meuhlenbeckia.

We navigated our way back to the homestead across fields. The walk now over, then a drive via the back roads in the now drizzling rain from the West coast to the East coast to spend the evening with Eliane. To catch up on the finer points of such things as  GPS tracking, and her  fish survey  then  finishing of the day with an Indian meal.  Perfect Day!



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Heath Reserve Council Tree planting and Forest and Bird planting at Tuff Crater.

The perfect winters day, blue sky and sunshine.

 A great turn out for the council planting at Heath Reserve(900 plants) and then a walk around the point to plant along the Southern side of Tuff Crater (700 plants).

This is Andrea who has just started working for the Kaipatiki Project

 This is part of the on-going Forest and Bird restoration project..

More photos at this link-

Friday, June 13, 2014

It's June again.

When  on Tiri in April I walked my favourite muehlenbeckia lined  tracks, where I had seen fernbird before but they were too illusive to photograph on this day. However  this young fantail followed me everywhere.
 It was an uplifting experience but this photo  won't make the Tiri 2015 calendar now.  I have been asked for two other preferred photos, one of a fernbird and the other of three pukeko in a row, however to me, at this time, this bird stole the day.

A friend is working on Tiri this weekend I wonder if my fantail is chasing her?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Vale of Kashmir

It’s on my bucket list, Kashmir. That’s after Western Australia towards the end of this year. I don’t usually rave about camera equipment but the photos in this excellent book by John Issac are all taken on an Olympus E1 camera which was the first digital camera (2004) that I owned. Some reviews at the time  panned it for not having enough mega pixels It had 6 but boy every mega pixel was excellent and the camera a pleasure to use particularly for landscape  and nature photography. I published my little North Shore Bush book with images taken with this camera. It was a very miss-understood camera  system.

 John Issac is a master. Originally a UN photographer until  the effects of human suffering  in war torn countries got the better of him and he re-invented himself as a wildlife and travel photographer.. The photos of Kashmir are just beautiful with a Rembrandt, biblical  quality, particularly  the portraits.
 This book is an inspiration and I recommend it to anyone who thinks that high spec’d cameras are the key to good photography. I have moved on to a Canon system for its focus tracking and high ISO, essential for birds in flight photography but I  have kept all my Olympus lenses and will build an Olympus light weight camera system for Island hopping and travel with their latest offering, this time, the well reviewed OMD EM1.

That’s enough camera talk for a year or maybe a lifetime..

This book was a great present Thank you so much.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Banded Dotterels-where are you?

I need some high resolution shots of Banded dotterels for an interpretive sign we are putting together for Shoal Bay. The design of this is going well, with Forest and Bird input and I have taken all the bird and habitat photos except a BD. The Miranda coastline seemed a good place to start and sure enough there are 50 at Miranda but way too far away for me to photograph. Pity because the lighting was just stunning.

Its a beautiful coastline between Kawakawa Bay and Miranda. With several Regional Reserves.  Had to have a look at the newest  just above Kawakawa bay on the Clevedon side.  Waitawa  shows great promise with superb views across the water. The slopes have had all their trees felled and I guess there will be a huge native tree planting project beginning soon.

Two hedgehogs a weasel and a storm petrel.

Yesterday was another beautiful day checking the traps protecting three beach bird sites
 We were pleased to have now caught a second weasel near to where we had previously found their tracks in the sand.

On one of the beaches we found the remains of a dead bird which my friend thinks may be a storm petrel. We are hoping to get confirmation of this.