Saturday, March 17, 2018

Port Waikato - Fossil hunting

 Port Waikato ticks all the boxes with its remote feel, sand dune environment, on the south side of the outflow of where the mighty Waikato river flows into the Tasman sea.

Sarah from 'Wildlands' is going to lead the way and navigate the dunes to top up the species list for this habitat. It was Sarah's suggestion that this habitat should be checked out.

The last time I was here was maybe over 15 years ago and a visit was way overdue. I'm enjoying re-visiting a few places that I haven't touched on for a while. Today I am checking out the ephemeral wetlands within  the dunes of the great sand dune area North of the settlement.  In their dry state you could hardly call them wetlands with just subtle  hints of  stunted glasswort and hundreds of tiny dead fish trapped by receding recent King tides.

In good company we trek across the dunes searching  for interesting specimens and then Janeen excitingly discovers a bird dropping spider and knowing her sense of humour I thought she was kidding but its real. A spider that looks like bird poo. Although they are a native orb spider they have no orb web just a single thread and hanging egg sacs. I was fascinated. Its my first. I'm a bird poo spider virgin!

Later after exploring the dunes it was time for fossil hunting at the beach cliffs at the southern end of the settlement. Below is a Belemnite (squid) found on a previous visit. Soon we were turning over every rock and within about 10mins had come up with some samples of plant fossils..

Photos and More to follow...........................