Saturday, June 19, 2021

Return to the Waitakere Ranges.

 It seems a long time since I have walked in the Waitakeres. This is partly due to Covid 19 Lockdowns earlier this year and  last year  but also because many of the tracks  in the ranges were closed to help slow the spread of  Kauri die back disease. However today it is good to be back with the people from Bot Soc the Auckland Botanical Society.

Our walk today was along the Cutty Grass track at a true Bot Soc  snails pace while examining every species of plant life around to add to the records for this track.

Toro fruiting

More to follow........

Monday, June 7, 2021

The Eels are back!

 Good to meet Josh and Kath today at the Northboro pond on a very wet morning.. They had both recently seen eels in the pond and Kath pointed out an eel while we were chatting. 

When the pond became badly  polluted and the ducks began to die the large eels some a metre long disappeared. Eels can be very sensitive to pollution and we presume that they left to survive.

I'm pleased to see that they have returned but this pond over the last few years has increasingly suffered from sediment incursions from local infill developments

Photo taken the following day 8. June 2021

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Eastern Bay of Plenty

We leave Auckland and head to the Miranda Coast stopping for a while before a quick visit to Thames then on to  Waihi to spend the night. At Katikati we visit the Bird gardens which were just beautiful in autumn colours. Butterflies too 

 Plenty to see along this wonderful coastline. Following Matata DOC campsite we are now heading to Whakatane.

Heading down Ohope beach this afternoon its great to see large areas taped off with good signage about the rare birds NZ dotterel and Variable oystercatcher that nest along this coastline. Dotterel and variable oystercatchers were present in pairs ready for the new breeding season.

 Its also good to see that the NZ Coastal Policy Statement is quoted in respect to controlling vehicles on beaches 'where damage to people, wildlife and other aspects of the wildlife might result'

Tomorrow we will follow the coastal road and explore the Opotiki side off the harbour staying at Ohiwa.

Looking forward to a good sunset this evening. Not only were we rewarded with great sunset but the  following morning a stunning sunrise too with clear blue skies that have lasted all day. 

The estuary is extensive with views to Whakari ( White Island) and Motuhora Island (Whale Island ) was one of the first Islands to become pest free in NZ. Its now a designated as a Wildlife sanctuary. Interesting to see several flocks of  oystercatchers flying in formation across the water to feeding sites. One of these flocks had 25 birds.

Ohiwa spit is a pretty little settlement to stay the night and I took the opportunity to climb the Ohiwa bush loop track to the Onekawa pa site which had stunning views all around. Now its time for a beach walk and then  watch the sun go down.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Sullivans Bay

 An interesting visit to this beautiful area with walks  to Te Muri and Mitre Bay. Interesting to meet two young people flying a drone and after I had counted  54 Variable oystercatchers, 24 South Island pied oystercatchers and two NZ dotterels resting ( roosting) at high tide just a couple of hours earlier. on the beach. That's a very good number of  Variable oystercatchers.

 I was keen to chat with the pilots of the drone and ask them if they understood that the Regional parks are no fly zones. They quickly brought back the zone from a great height and that was the end of that. The Rangers do an extraordinary job keeping these reserves in such good order but I guess the behaviour of visitors is always unpredictable.

The following day it was great to meet with and chat to Cimino and I thank him for the link to the Mahurangi News magazine just passed on.  Cimino is the editor of this magazine which is full of very interesting articles. I will settle down with a coffee to read this after my high tide shorebird count at  Shoal estuary his morning.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Kaipara return

More to follow.............. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Miranda Shorebird Centre - The Birds & the Bees..

An interesting talk by Osana about Birds & Bee keeping as part of a gathering at the Miranda shorebird centre to Farewell the  birds as they head of on their migrations to the Northern hemisphere in the case of the godwit and to the South Island for the wrybill.

More to follow.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Rainbow Warrior Matauri Bay

 It has been quite a time since I climbed the hill at the campsite end of Matauri bay to visit the memorial to the sinking of the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior. The ship was blown up and deliberately sunk on orders of the French Government  on July10th 1985.

 This event was in direct  retaliation for the protest and anti nuclear stance that Greenpeace and New Zealand  had taken against the testing of nuclear devices in the Pacific by the French Government. 

A great find down a short gravel road the beautiful little Mahinepua bay complete with walkway out on the peninsular.

Tauranga Bay with white fronted terns diving for fish.

More to follow.....

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Back on Track !

 With the Auckland Covid 19 Lockdown 3 restrictions lifted travel plans are back on track

Motutara Reserve

The views from the top just stunning and worth the hill climb.

Variable Oystercatcher family

 8 week + oystercatcher chick

Oystercatcher chicks learning to search for food.

More to follow......................... 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Te Muri -Are dotterel protected?

This informative sign seems to show the opposite.  That although dotterels are a  protected species  by law they are far from being adequately protected at their nesting sites. 

The message on the board is a common theme each year. Can we do better?? 

Staying for a few nights at Mahurangi West. There are some great walks around the coast and over the hills to Mitre bay and Te Muri bay.

More to follow ...........................

Friday, January 15, 2021

Kohuroa walkway

 A delightful place to stay. The Kohuroa walkway is always worth spending some time enjoying the waterfalls and kauri trees. It  now has   newly constructed kauri boot cleaning stations at either end. 

Around the rocks with their interesting rock pools from the main beach is a rocky bay and I spent some hours watching a dotterel family. Two adults and two  well developed young birds fledged but still watched over by attentive parent birds.

This seasons fledged young

Adult dotterel with worn feathers watches over two fledged young birds.

Adult bird keeps an eye out for aerial predators 

Fledged young bird with adult behind

Photos to follow.

Friday, January 1, 2021