Friday, 25 December 2015

Sunday, 20 December 2015

It Looks Like We Will Get Some Blackberries This Summer

Yes. The blackberries are fruiting well. They are growing on our land beside the road at Old Mill Ln. Very precious to us they are. Looking forward to blackberry buckle, jelly, sorbet, muffins....

These are early blackberries and fruit at Christmas. We also have another king that fruit in February. Our bees are working the flowers now.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Col The Kiwi Continues To Visit - Matata Pair

Col the Kiwi keeps on returning to the hole under the ponga. We first saw Col during August 2015.
Also great to get a video of a pair of Matata (Fernbirds) in our wetland.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Our Ngunguru River 29th November 2015

This blog is an extra to the previous one.
To see all of the photos in order from the Quarry downstream go to our Google Drive

One of the most scenic areas that could be classed as being in the Tutukaka Coast is the Ngunguru River between Omaikao Road and Ngunguru Road. The river descends through a steep sided gorge for the whole 14km. For the whole distance the sides are covered with native bush with well established large trees. The larger ones being Kauri, Totara, Rimu, Taraire, Towai and Rewarewa. All typical  of Northland bush. The understory is interesting also where for the whole distance Taurepo abounds. As a bonus it was in flower. There is much Kawakawa, Kiekie, Kareao and loads of epiphytes. We also noted several Neinei and even one stunning little orchid in flower.
The river is quite stunning. There are beautiful quiet calm stretches with overhanging trees interspersed with small waterfalls and rapids. Some of the quiet hidden pools had a small group of Pateke.

In several places the basalt rock can be seen, The two most notable are a large basalt column boulder. and down near where we exited a straight face with columns at its base.

It is a difficult walk that requires some fitness. It took us about nine hours to complete cover  nine kilometres of river. We have five kilometres remaining to check out. We are looking forward to another big day on the river.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Ngunguru River Excursion - 29th November 2015

Ngunguru River Excursion - 29th November 2015
On November 29th at 8:15 am a group of four armed with GPS, Topographical map and a camera attempted to river walk, bush and bank struggle from the bridge at the end of Omaikao Rd to Ngunguru Rd fourteen kilometres downstream.
The flow was quite low. At a point near the basalt columns all the flow was passing through a 1500 by 300mm rock gap.
 After about 5 kilometres and 5 hours into the walk we decided that it would be prudent to leave the river at the River Rd ford and walk River Rd to the River Rd Bridge and then continue down the river to Ngunguru Rd thus missing about 5 kilometres of river. It was another 3.2Km to our exit point at Murphy’s farm.
We intend to return and walk the section we missed this time. It is worth noting that this trip down the Ngunguru River could also be managed in the summer with a small waka as there were many long pools divided by short rapid sections and waterfalls where the waka could easily be lowered over.
For its whole length the river travels through a steep sided, bush lined gorge including the first kilometre from Omaikao Rd where it travels through steep farmland. Throughout all the sections that we hiked it is very scenic. It is a very beautiful gem in our area. The larger trees were mostly Towai, Kauri, Tanekaha, Taraire, Rimu and Tawa. Much of the understory was Taurepo in bloom. This is the most extensive Taurepo coverage I have ever seen.
We noted very little birdlife. There were several small groups of Pateke of up to five ducks. In small numbers we also saw some Tui, Piwakawaka, Greenfinch, Riroriro, Mallard ducks and Eastern Rosellas. In the river we also saw that there were fresh water mussels, shrimp, Koura and one kind of small fish about 60mm long. In the flatter slower areas there were large areas of a grass like weed on the bottom.
Some cattle damage was noted in the earlier section at 35 36.4047S 174 25.9998E where they had been down to the water to drink. See the attached photos. The bush seemed to be quite heavily grazed by goats and pigs. In the steeper wall sections this caused frittering of the unstable wall that would easily erode in the rain. In all sections of river there was a considerable amount of fine sedimentation that heavily clouded the water when we walked over the gravel in the stream. One assumes that this is caused mostly by forestry runoff. Because of the nature of the river and its depth we were unable to check this through the farmed area.

Near the beginning at – 35 36.4062S – 174 25.9994E in the farmed area it was sad to see that gorse overspray had recently killed most of the Kanuka and Manuka as well as some tanekaha. See attached photos.

 All in all it is a stunning scenic river. One we wish to visit to see again and complete the trip.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Mrs Spider and Mrs Weta

You have seen these friendly fellows before. Since my previous blog the Nursery Web Spider has now laid and wrapped her eggs. We expect she will vacate the drum for the top of a shrub and build a nursery for the young. See this blog for a previous nursery.

Mrs Weta was found under a pottery head that we have on a stick in the garden. For a tree weta she is huge and fat! Hopefully she is fat with eggs.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

This spider is cool

There is a Nursery Spider living in our cow poo drum that we keep for garden fertiliser. It has been there at least six months. When we dip water out for the garden it dives  under and hides down in the water until we have finished and it is clear to emerge. I blogged this kind of spider before when it had a nursery in a ponga by our deck.

Monday, 2 November 2015

A Trip to Auckland "Zoo"

We spent time at Auckland Zoo on Thursday and Friday. Most fascinating. We went for a walk through a beautiful valley park and also through the Domain where lots of humans wandered, seemingly doing nothing. It seems that the resident humans have created these tree filled places for their enjoyment. 

They even plant flowering plants for their colour and enjoyment.
Some have built nests deep amongst the trees with openings that they could look out from through the trees. We observed humans doing nothing other than walking about on the grass between the trees.

A few led tethered animals then let them run free on the grass. there seemed to be some kind of communication between the humans and these animals as the animals did not run away. 
Some humans  were holding hands. Supposedly part of a male and female bonding ritual. Later I saw some doing the same thing on paths crowded with humans amongst the tall buildings that others were coming and going from. 

They seemed very regimented in the way they followed and stayed on formed paths. There were noisy things moving fast between the paths. I could not discover any useful purpose in that. These machines went up and down, backwards and forwards? 

Some of the paths were steel tracks. Humans filed into big boxes that traveled on these tracks. Presumably they had reason to go to another place. Others were mobile and led into and out of buildings.
Some of the humans had other interesting behaviours. I observed one that had learnt to go to a box like thing in a wall where it could get a kind of token that could be redeemed for food and other things. Amazing behaviour, and an illustration that these animals can create and learn to use tools. 

I saw many humans walk past us with their right hand over their right ear talking to themselves. Others seemingly in control of the machines on the paths were doing the same thing.  Most strange and definitely appearing unsafe.

I also observed many humans feeding. This they did in a number of ways. Some ate noisily in great halls 

while others hid quietly  behind transparent walls with mates and looked out while eating and drinking.
I liked the way that these walls reflected the busy street scene.
Sometimes I observed humans just sitting. I  could go on and on about these strange behaviours that other animals don't do.

All in all, we had a Grand Day Out.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Black spined weevil - Scolopterus penicillatus

Discovered a Black spined weevil - Scolopterus penicillatus on our rose bush. Beautiful fellow. It is native to NZ. Competing with the bees for pollen. These little 6mm fellows open up like a DeLorean and fly. Nature is So fascinating.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Riroriro Nest

Riroriro (Grey Warbler) has nested right near our house. I have set the Trail camera up to see if we can get some feeding shots. This is one of my favourite birds. They build such cosy, soft nests. This one is 1.5 metres from the ground. I have read that they nest high  when they know it is not going to be windy and low when it is. It looks like this El Nino is going to be windy according to science. Riroriro just knows this stuff.