Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gone North

Enjoying being along this great coastline on a bird survey. I had heaps of spare warm clothes expecting it to be really cold but the day was fantastic and it was certainly warmer than the predicted 5C-12C.

 "One out of the box" as Gwen remarked and we all enjoyed our day with lots of interesting birds including NZ dotterel, pied stilt, including a hybrid (a smudgie). Also an  egret and a black shag colony with about 7 winter nests in the top of a huge Macrocarpa tree. I learned heaps from the experts and enjoyed photographing the dotterel and black shags.

 The egret was a long way off . Eliane had spotted it flying over us as we tried to count the nests in the black shag colony. Then it landed and joined  three spoonbill on the other side of the river.

Enjoyed the evening too  as it was time to dust of some vinyl 45's that I have not heard for a lifetime. So took advantage of the record player and a tasty Indian meal.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Tuff Crater F&B Planting

On Friday the plants were delivered to Tuff from the Kaipatiki project  by a few  hardy volunteers with a couple of trailers ready for the Forest and Bird North Shore branch planting today.

 It was a cold start at 8am but gradually more people arrived until we counted around 50 and then the  sun came out and many hands made light work of planting down from the ridge in fairly difficult terrain particularly amongst the previously  treated dying pampas grass clumps.

Hopefully these native plants will take over from that invasive plant and transform this side  of the crater.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's a Sign

Well it's a big step in the right direction for the Council to have now erected a sign at the Charles Street access point to the Shoal Bay shell bank and spit. This sign shows the area as a Wildlife area and also points out that dogs should be on a leash.

Shoal Bay is DOC designated as a Site of Special Wildlife Interest (SSWI)

It has been an issue for me and the Forest and Bird Team when we see dogs running lose and chasing birds that are trying to feed on the foreshore at different states of the tide.

I have photographed each of the 17 access points to the foreshore of  the Shoal Bay estuary  and look forward to seeing more wildlife signs helping to  protect this excellent and important wildlife area.

Well done Auckland Council for getting on with this and thanks to all involved..

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hunua Ranges

I had been looking forward to a walk to the highest point in Auckland, the Kohukohunui trig point summit in the Hunua ranges. A friend had beautifully described the walk and views from here when she had stayed in the hut at the summit while I was camping on Motuihe Island during 2012.

Today I was with the Auckland Botanic Society (Bot Soc) and the quest was to reach the summit then botanise at a slow pace during our decent. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mud Glorious Mud

It had rained heavily the  night before and so it was expected that this naturally wet area below Arahia street at Tuff Crater would be wetter than usual. Sunday the 9th was a North Shore Forest & Bird and Auckland Council Arbour Community planting day.

More photos and more to follow...................   

Sunday, June 9, 2013

32 traps and a fizzy drink.

Back to Mount Tamahunga for a check of three trap lines of a total of 32 traps across this beautiful mountain. The bush is lush and varied and much of this walk was along an unformed track along ridges and into valleys with several streams to cross. . We also did some track clearance which helps keep the tracks open and usable. The traps had to be re baited and reset where necessary.

 Today was also the trial of some very sugary fizzy drink to temp particularly rats. This was to be trialled at every third trap and it will be interesting to see how it goes. We walked out around five after over a five hour walk and it made me appreciate once again the dedication that is going into trying to rid our native bush areas of a range of predators.

It also made me realise how hungry I had become and so the BBQ was really welcome and thanks for organising the comedy show later in the evening at the Sawmill cafe, a few more laughs to round off the day.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Waitakeres-Gone Bush

I have been asked to supply some photos of indigenous forest for  a website and although I have many photos of bush species I needed some vistas for this project. I had found some on the North Shore but needed more and so headed to the Waitakere Ranges on Queens birthday Monday.

My first stop was the Arataki visitor centre just beyond Titirangi to enjoy the wonderful view and get some advice from the duty rangers. They suggested the Waitakere dam area and so that was my next stop. It an easy walk down a service road to the dam. The views are stunning especially with the reflections on the absolutely still surface of the reservoir today.

However these were not quite the photos I was looking for. I walked back up the hill to the car park and then onto Cascade park which is a delightful area with some great walks through kauri, nikau and puriri forest. A tomtit came close and then a North Island robin virtually at my feet. It reminded me of a friend who just loves robins although her speciality is the rare black robin of the Chatham Isles.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Miranda to me is not just a beautiful place but more a state of the mind and I have been fortunate to have shared visits with others who also appreciate that. Today was no exception and calling into the Shorebird Centre I was greeted by Delight a lovely lady who was manning the shop while the Miranda team were at the conference in the South Island. Delight reminded me that it was a year ago on the same holiday weekend that I had stayed at the Centre with a birder friend and we had all ended up at the 'new hide'  to watch the birds and witness a wonderful rainbow. That was a year ago and today I was alone but that didnt matter because the the birds put on a show and I knew that I would be calling in to see a friend near Thames after the high tide.