Monday, September 24, 2012

Always a first time at Miranda

There is a first time for everything and there is nothing quite like that moment when you see a bird you have been wanting to see forever and suddenly it is there in front of you. On Saturday there were several of these events for different members of our  Forest and Bird group.
 We were visiting the Miranda Shorebird Centre. Our day, led by Alan Emmerson started well when Alan nearly tripped over his tripod when he spotted a bittern standing motionless in the reeds by a pond as we headed towards the old and new hides in time for high tide. The bittern  was a long way off but easy to see through one of our high powered scopes. This is a rare shy bird and my first sighting. I hope you can just make it out in this photo?

The second rarity of the day was the black fronted tern more usually seen in the South Island. This delighted us as it flew in front of the new hide. I thought I was photographing a Caspian tern until Alan corrected me. Later I was able to compare a Caspian tern in flight as one later hovered/hunted over the Stilt ponds.

We saw a total of 43 birds during the day including such delights as the beautiful Pacific Golden Plovers and Ruddy Turnstone.
All in all a great day at Miranda. Thank you Alan for sharing your knowledge and making it a fun day too.

More photos at this link

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fletcher Track near Huia - Waitakere Ranges

 The weather forecast was not looking good, however 17 walkers turned up for the Fletcher track Bot Soc walk. The Auckland Botanical Society walks are always interesting and with so many keen eyes looking out for interesting species there is always something to make the effort of a sometimes slippery  muddy track worthwhile. For a photographer this is great motivation. I wasn't to be disappointed on this walk as many plants were found some rediscovered from previous walks. The one that really fascinated me was Brachyglottis Kirkii an epiphytic plant with an amazing stem and daisy like flowers. It really stole the day for me as much as being a challenge to photograph with the breeze that always seems to be appear the moment you raise your camera to your eye.

Another plant that was of interest to me was Bush Lawyer  Rubus cissoides This is the first time I have seen it in flower.

Fortunately the predicted heavy rain did not come although most including me were well wrapped up in waterproofs that were not actually needed. A great Bot Soc day in the park.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy Returns

Although I really enjoy exploring absolutely new places its always good to go back to favourite interesting places. The Manurewa Botanic Gardens are one of those and with the vision of spring blossom in mind I set out down State Highway 1  for a 20minute drive to the gardens. On arriving I remembered that on a previous visit  a friend  had  tipped me off  about the sighting of a lone dabchick on one of the ponds. Sure enough we had found this solitary specialist diving bird showing off its skills.
 That day in February was  dull and wet so no photos taken but today the light was good and this diminutive endemic grebe was still doing its stuff much to the envy of the other waterfowl around.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


In my Clevedon Reserve post I alluded to the fact that so many native NZ bush flowers are quite unspectacular and small and sometimes difficult to see.  Tree fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata) rather makes up for that with such beautiful striking flowers athough again they are quite small and delicate. These  grow straight from the trunk of this small tree which can grow to about 12metres high. This specimen is growing by the side of a stream in Le Roys Reserve on the North Shore.