Sunday, October 28, 2012

ABS Diamond Jubilee 27.10.2012

I was quite humbled to be asked to attend and photograph the Auckland Botanical Societies 75th year celebration at Unitec on Sunday. With excellent speakers and plenty of humour about past trips to interesting Islands and corners of New Zealand and beyond there was something for everyone that attended.

Previously on the 12th October had been the launch of the wonderful book 'Auckland's Remarkable Urban Forest' by Mike Wilcox president of Bot Soc. Mike also talked about his vision for the future care of this urban forest.

 Another book listing the vascular plant species on Hauturu (Little Barrier Island) was also launched at the Jubilee meeting.

Taking the group photo at the end of the day and being asked to actually be in it (that's me in the centre operating the remote control, click on photo to see full view) was a further delight along with being awarded a chocolate fish at the evening dinner for being a most enthusiastic new member. My Congratulations to  'Bot Soc'. What a great day to remember.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wet Day at Miranda

On Sunday I returned to Miranda for the talk on dotterels by John Dowding and a visit to the hides for the 'return of the birds'.

   John is an authority on NZ Dotterels and explained how although they have been doing well the future is not good due to funding cuts to DoC. There is a direct correlation between how they are managed to how well they increase their population. He also pointed out that most of the present population are found on the East coast and that Auckland’s East coast is the very area under threat of subdivision and competition with other activities.

 John also covered the Rena disaster. They  removed half of the population to the safety of  aviaries built nearby then waited until after the clean-up to return the birds. This is apparently a first on a world scale. Birds usually either being cleaned up after the event or relocated to other areas.
After Johns engaging talk I headed in the rain for the hides to see the many bird congregating on the shell banks.

With the poor light conditions the only photos I could take were of this plant called Batchelors buttons, Buttonweed,  Cotula coronopifolia growing behind the old hide on the waterlogged shell bank.  I am quite familiar with this plant as it grows on the margins of the  lagoon at Tuff Crater.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


A long weekend stay in Rotorua had Wingspan on the list of 'must do activities' This is a charitable trust  with the main aim of educating people about the seriously endangered New Zealand falcon. This was an excellent opportunity to get up close to these birds of prey including Swamp Harrier and Barn owls. But the main show was the flight of a male  and female falcon. The speed and maneuverability of these birds in flight was just amazing and the small group of us with cameras at the ready  were no match for their skills. 

While there I exchanged cards with another visitor Ilse and when Ilse saw my card she instantly recognised my photo of native broom. Subsequently Ilse contacted to tell me the story that she had used my recent publication about North Shore bush in her research for the 'Every Day Collective Laboratory' project on the North Shore, with reference to Heritage and the Environment.
It was lovely to meet Ilse and Emmosi on such an enjoyable visit to Wingspan.
My thanks to the team at Wingspan for making our day.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Many Tiri Returns

Tiritiri Matangi Island is always a delightful place to visit but with interesting company  it becomes even more rewarding. We set out to look for penguins at Hobbs beach at dusk and watched the sunset above white capped waves. We found one' little blue' tucked up warm and dry in a cosy spot near the wharf.

 Another night time excursion looking for tuatara was only slightly disappointing as we were rewarded by a full moon sparkling over the ocean. It was too cool for tuatara we think.  Later we heard kiwi calling.

I had set out to see a spotless crake but they were as elusive as ever but on route to the far end of the island I heard an unusual bird call. A friend on a previous visit had trained me to take notice of these so I waited patiently for some time before the call Talip Talip was rewarded by the sighting of a fernbird and this photograph too.

More photos at this link