Its that time of the year again. Its Christmas Party time and today Bot Soc are gathering at Point Wells for a get together..
More to follow......................
Not one but two. Now that's unusual to see two stoats on the same day close by. We have been in Lockdown for many weeks now and the borders have been closed but we have had the freedom to explore Auckland and I never miss an opportunity to re-visit favourite reserves. One of these is on the Mahurangi peninsular. Its a great escape from the city I visit weekly. and sometimes when possible stay overnight in one of the three beautiful campgrounds.
A couple of weeks ago I had headed for one of my favorite walks up the hill to the lookout and then down to Te Muri bay . I crossed the river as the tide was good to explore behind the top of the beach. keeping a lookout for any NZ dotterel nesting activity. At once I disturbed a stoat. It bounded away with an undulating movement. At first thinking it was a rabbit the black tail was the real giveaway.
Heading along the back path above the beach about 10 minutes later I was aware of movement in front of me and yes there was stoat 2. It just stopped in its tracks s I did and we just stared at each other for a few minutes I usually carry a camera but on this occasion I had left it in my bag as I crossed the river so I missed the opportunity to get a photo. Yesterday I returned this time camera in hand but all was quiet. I had passed on my sightings to the Ranger the previous week who had explained that due to Covid 19 restrictions his volunteers had not been able to enter the park s so the string of stoat traps had not been baited for a while. Yesterday they were full of rabbit meat so maybe the stoats were wary at having a too easy a tasty meal served up for them.
Its the first day of lockdown 3 after five weeks of lockdown 4 following New Zealand's first community Delta Covid outbreak.. Its still fairly quiet out and about and with an 8.10am high tide I'm out to check the numbers of our newly arrived local estuary godwit.
They began arriving on the 13th September and now the flock is building in size. The birds look in remarkably good condition following an amazing 11.5 thousand kilometre flight from Alaska. Last season 4BBRW set an amazing record of nearly 12,000 km in 9.5days.
Today these birds are fairly settled on this sand/shell bank after feeding out on the mudflats at low tide. The only disturbance was caused when a pair of variable oystercatchers decided to take of and head for their more favoured shell bank and the godwits seemed for a moment to instinctively take off with them before returning and settling back down. Nearby a smaller group of south Island pied oystercatchers stayed settled saving their energy
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 that.is 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.
More to follow........
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|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.....
|The views from the top just stunning and worth the hill climb.|
|Variable Oystercatcher family|
|8 week + oystercatcher chick|
More to follow.........................
More to follow ...........................
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.