Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wetapunga on Motuora Island

A change of plans today, on a cool but blue sky winters day, when Chris Green from DOC asked me to assist him for the day recording and checking on wetapunga (giant weta) on Motuora Island.

A large number of wetapunga reared at Auckland zoo had previously been released, housed in bamboo pipes on the Island and today we were checking and recording any weta still found inhabiting the pipes after their release.

This was a tree planting day on the Island and a big event with the larger group of 105 people but Chris and I were on the  East  side of the Island following the release line through the bush and it was all extremely interesting. Thanks Chris for sharing your knowledge  especially  how to spot wetapunga in trees. I will give that a try. I look forward to another opportunity to help with this project.

Nice evening Eliane, good to catch up, enjoyed the meal. I was ready for that after my day chasing wetas on the Island.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Roll On Summer

The silly grin is because what you can't see in this photo is the rather unpleasant sight of my self cooked evening meal, that I had just rescued, from nearly dropping 'jam side down' on the grass. Kitchens are dangerous places for me and I have caused explosions in microwaves.  A camp stove should be easy. However it nearly always ends badly.
This was in January this year camping on my favourite Island, Motuihe.  I like to have the Island to myself but good company is also welcome. It’s a busy schedule. Up at dawn for the sunrise and out at dusk watching for little- spotted kiwi and tuatara . Sadly there are less boats now to the Island  and the storm damage to the pier doesn’t help with that. I am really looking forward to going back this coming summer. So if you are passing and would like to join me for an evening meal, especially if you are a good cook, then just look out for my little blue tent……

Oh and please bring along a fire extinguisher, just in case!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

High Tide Dotterel Roost in Car Park

I've long been  fascinated that   NZ dotterels regularly  roost at high tide in the Warehouse Way car park high above Shoal Bay. On Sunday 20th of July I counted a total of 26 dotterel including 8 banded dotterel.

We  have been working on a dog review submission to get more protection for the nesting and feeding sites in Shoal Bay.

Monday, July 21, 2014

8 days later

I talked about shifting sands on my last visit to the two East coast beaches with Eliane on the 12th July and here we are 8 days later. Today the DOC sign was virtually covered.

Wading across two rivers today was cold work and the second river proved too deep and we had to turn back and admit defeat. It was good to get back into warm dry clothes. The traps will have to wait until another time for checking.

 Photos and more too follow.................

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lava Rock Forests of Mt Eden.

A visit to the grounds of Government House and the Eden Gardens with Bot Soc on what must be the coldest day this year.

We could only stay for these two sites today. An Interesting tour by our guide. 

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

Friday, July 18, 2014

Taking a Walk on the Wild Side - Whatipu.

Whatipu revisited. It's always good to lay down new memories next to old. That doesn't mean that the old ones are diminished in any way. It's a while since I had been to Whatipu beach, the last time with Bot Soc. A friend had missed out on a trip there too and so we picked a great day for a walk up the beach to Karekare.

The sun was shining but a brisk Southerly reduced the temperature to around 13C but in
the shelter of the dunes it was warm and the black sand underfoot was pleasant.

Here Eliane is snapping some large bird prints which we think are bittern prints. We also saw paradise duck, pied stilts, banded dotterel and this NZ pipit feeding. We heard but didn't see fernbird.

We stayed until the sun began to set then headed back to my local Indian restaurant where Eliane chose a delicious vegetarian meal to share based on her visits to India. I'm learning to enjoy the variety of flavours available in Indian food.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shifting Sands then Wet Wet Wet!

A good start with clear skies but then no need to throw myself in the river this week although I might have stayed drier if I had.

I had promised to help with carrying some gear to the river site on the East coast and part way through the forest  just before we reached the dunes and beach the rain started, then became torrential the moment we left the relative shelter of the forest.

Eliane checked the traps several of which were buried  in the sand -dunes from the recent cyclone. I went back for more gear hoping for some shelter in the forest but it made no difference. Fortunately I had donned my rain gear just in time. Eliane didn't and ended up soaked. We eventually abandoned the project for another day but at least I felt I had done my part which was helping to carry everything in.

We headed home to get into dry clothes and spent an hour or two thumbing  through my Kashmir book, admiring the beautiful photos. Then  it was my turn  to choose somewhere for dinner.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


The 'F word.' Fun of course! That's what yesterday turned out to be, well hilarious actually mostly at my expense. We had arranged to meet to walk to some East coast beaches to check traps and later meet up with a scientist to check on Kauri dieback disease in a local Reserve.  

The first beach went fine but as with the other traps checked later there would be no catches today. However to our delight a white heron was feeding with a group of black shags so we had some good views of that. Eliane fixed up some posts ready for the Summer season. We skipped the second beach to be in time to meet up with Tony and went onto our third beach site heading through the forest  after chatting to the young guys herding the cattle from some rather wet fields.

 At the beach the various combinations of planting for restoration were discussed. We crossed the river at a shallow point and  spent an hour or so collecting shells then moving them to suitable spot to attract nesting birds. It was while carrying a couple of bags of shells back across the river that I decided to try a shallower crossing where the river met the sea but this turned out to be a fatal error.  I disappeared under to about chest height. It was too late that I realised that the flow of water had gauged out the river bed deeply.

Lunch was next as I changed into my rain gear over-pants. Eliane thought I looked like a Ninja with my black merino top on too. Tony thought I should wear a berka to complete the outfit. I thought I should take up cycling with the Lycra sensation of the over trousers which I was beginning to enjoy. The rest is unrepeatable.

The pied stilt family of two adults and two juveniles are still together with an additional adult. The family have been together since January this year.

Later our forest walk up to the ridge was interesting but didn't quite hit the spot for finding diseased trees and soon the light would have been failing under the trees. Tony headed home and Eliane and I headed back to the beach we had missed earlier to complete the trap checking and re-baiting and then home for a welcomed evening meal and glass or two of wine.