Sunday, 26 June 2011

Night time excurtions. Weta rules.

Its like a war zone here as far as the vege garden is concerned. I have used slug and snail baits but the desecration continues. Feeling a little desperate I went out on a night excursion to see who or what was eating my mustard lettuce, rhubarb and the cape gooseberry's along with all the others that were showing the ravages of chewing whatevers.
Torch in hand and plenty of determination out I ventured, and after finding plenty of snails and large slugs on the first mentioned I was feeling pretty satisfied.
Off to the chilli plant that had holes munched in the green ones, it had to be a snail. Bare hands and torch aimed at the top of the plant I started rummaging around to find the snail, OOOPS it seems its Weta who is eating the chilli, well I am not about to grab a Weta with my bare hands, they look way more fierce than they are as they are vegetarian and would only bite when put under great stress and I was not about to put that creature under stress.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Our Nature at Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice. Sunny, showery colder, South Westerly breeze.
This week Melva heard Hawk calling for a mate high up over our valley. Last year we heard Hawk first on the 21st July. One calm morning this week as we walked on our road we could smell the sweet scent of the Mingimingi buds. We first noticed them last year on the 28th July. Things seem early this year. It has been warmer than other years.
Today,  Adrian and Judi Gilbert, Pat Heaphy, Sophie Edwards, Melva and myself as well as Robyn and Rose Skerten and friends counted shore birds at the Te Maika end of the Ngunguru Sandspit for the Ornithological Society. We do this about every quarter. The Dottrels were paired and in full bright breeding colours. Loads of Oyster Catchers as usual. Others we counted were Pied Shag, Red and Black Billed Gulls, Black Backed Gulls, Pipits, Reef Herons, Caspian Terns, Green Finches, Hawk, Gannet and Chaffinch. It was high tide so great for counting as all the birds were settled on high ground waiting for it to receed. It is their quiet time.
On the way home there was a male Pheasant in our lane. This is a first for us. We hope he stays.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Piwakawaka makes it seem like a sunny day

Gosh how the time flies,its Tuesday already.We did a walk into the Hugh Crawford Reserve on Sunday afternoon and had a delightful explore, as we always do.
It seems to be the time for fungi and we found two more that we have not seen in our travels.
A very small orange one that we think may be a Coral fungi and and creamy one that was all tiny spikes, it looked like coral too but it seems it was Spine or Tooth Fungi. Very interesting looking fungi.
Today was very quite and dull. Well the weather was but there is always Fantail cheeping in your face in the winter time, and our little friend who likes the compost bin opened so it can get the bugs was there to brighten the day. I thought there were plenty of bugs without the bin needing to be opened. Its just never dull with our little Piwakwaka friend about.
The Silver Eye have found the Yellow Guava with nearly ripe fruit, I guess they are more tasty than the Coprosma berries.    
 The orange fungi to the left is what we think is the Coral Fungi and the white one is what we think is the Spine or Tooth Fungi.                           

Thursday, 9 June 2011


On Tuesday when I was cleaning up the enclosed garden (bird proofed) I discovered under the massive Oregano plant a fungi. It was unknown to me so I took its photo and came back inside to see if our books could identify it. Sure enough there is was in the Forest Floor section a Stinkhorn Fungi but this one was not quite all the way out. Amazing things they are, perhaps like something out of Under The Mountain, and today it has got its tendrils out. It is suposed to be smelly and attract flies but as yet I have not smelt anything awful from it. Amazing the things one finds. I don't know if this is a good indication of a good soil for veges but its sure interesting to see these things, and its a native so it can not be all bad.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Coastal walk from Sandy Bay to Whananaki

Ringa Ringa, Araraiti and Whananaki beaches
Woke up to the sun so changed our days plan. Go for a walk. The Tutukaka Coast area has wonderful walks. There was one we had not been on. That is the part of Te Ara Roa Walkway between Sandy Bay and Whananaki. The sun was out and it was warm. Wonderful.  

We were on the track at 9am from McAuslin Road, Sandy Bay where we parked the car. There had been a North East blow that had kicked up a sizable swell, wave watching and the roaring rumbling surf destroying itself on the rocks was an entertainment along most of the track. One after the other there are stunning bays all the way. Some are selfishly guarded with Private Property, Keep out signs. Don't worry, Araraiti Bay is welcoming and gorgeous. We discovered stunning coastal views as most of the track is well above sea level. One of the best being from the Capitaine Beauganville Memorial. That is a 45 minute return track and well worth the easy walk. The view from there is from the point at Matapouri to the Rimariki Islands North of Whananaki. Stunning view down to Ringa Ringa, Araraiti and Whananaki Beaches.
At Araraiti we were welcomed by Mrs Mackey who told us some of her family history of the area dating back to Maori arrival in the area. We sat on a bench on the seaside in front of her house for lunch then started the walk back to Sandy Bay.
Most of the track is actually farm road. What isn't is still very easy going. We did it bare foot. The walk took us about 3hrs going and 2 hrs returning. Add another 2hrs if going all the way to the
Whananaki  store for an ice cream. We took our time and stopped a lot for photos.
Terrific walk. Loved it.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Wedding Anniversary Celebration Night

33 years with my mate. Loads of fun, adventures and never a dull moment. Life on our sailing vessel Spindrift  was a wonderful time.
Land living is also proving to be a wonderful time. Winter, when you are all sad faced and its gloomy weather, which is rare in Northland, there is always Fantail, cheeping about the day, flitting past your face so close you can feel the wind from their wings. Grey Warbler trilling quietly in the Kanuka looking for bugs, Tui doing fighter pilot manouvers through the Totora. There is always something to replace the brightness of sunshine if you care to stop and listen and look.