Godwits in trouble on migration from New Zealand to breeding grounds in Alaska

NZ Godwits

Ecologist Rachel Hufton reports Many shorebird populations are in serious decline along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. The rapid loss of coastal wetlands (attributed to land reclamation) in the Yellow Sea, which provide critical stop-over/ re-fuelling sites for shorebirds during migration is believed to be the cause of this alarming trend. The Yalu Jiang coastal wetland,…

Wilderness verses Access, as it relates to Fiordland, and New Zealand’s largest landslide

At the end of March I headed off with a close photography friend to explore a small area of eastern Fiordland in the Lake Monowai and Green Lake areas. En-route we met Fiordland artist Wayne Edgerton of Tuatapere, and enjoyed a hour or two with him discussing “light” and art from the perspective of painting…

Is our water quality testing of Lake Hawea proactive enough?

Lake Hawea

Anthony Coote, local Geo-scientist reports:  Is our water quality testing of Lake Hawea proactive enough, and are any measured tolerances of deemed good quality appropriate, given climate change. If you thought that Lake Hawea hasn’t looked right for about a month now, you are not alone and probably not mistaken: pale blue green in colour…

The great New Zealand lupin debate and why it matters

Lake Pukaki lupins and a wilding pine

First we need to talk about the lupin’s favoured environment being mainily the braided rivers which drain the Southern Alps – rivers that find it impossible to run in a straight line, and be anything other than dynamic. When in flood braided rivers carry sediment from the ever rising mountains [geologically speaking] and landslides that…

The News Central Otago interviewed me recently

West Matukituki Valley

The News, Central Otago interviewed me a couple of weeks ago because of this web site initiative. The paper and article will hit the streets today apparently. I’m wondering how it’ll present! Simon the interviewer steered me into aspects of my history in a very professional manner. Then sooner rather than later, since the web…

Makarora Braided River – an under estimated biodiversity hotspot

wrybill chick

From the headwaters of the Makarora on the eastern flanks of the Southern Alps near the Haast Pass in Mt Aspiring National Park. The Makarora River flows south west and is joined by the Blue and the Young Rivers, then extending its braid plain further meeting its confluence with the Wilkin River before dissipating its…

Kaki /Black Stilt release of 60 birds this week in the Tasman River Valley near Mt Cook National Park this week

The kakī, or black stilt, is an endemic native wading bird found only in New Zealand, and it is regarded by the Māori as a living treasure – a taonga species. The population in 2017 is 106 wild adult birds, so the release represents a significant increase in numbers – lets hope stoats and cats…

Videos of last year’s Sustainable Summits Conference, at Mt Cook

Mt Cook Aoraki

Last winter I attended the inaugural, for NZ, Sustainable Summits Conference, at Mt Cook Aoraki Village and did several posts on same. It was one of the most interesting multi-day events I’ve ever attended. For it’s duration my friend Carla Braun-Elwert filmmaker editor artist, made videos, and she has now published them as below. Click…

A year in the life of the Matukituki Charitable Trust operating in Mt Aspiring National Park

NZ falcon becoming airborne

The Matukituki Charitable Trust which operates in Mt Aspiring National Park has just released a newsletter which is reproduced below, [unless otherwise indicated photos and italicised text are by Donald Lousley who btw is proud to have been involved trapping, monitoring and making photos towards assisting with the great results as outlined below]: Kia Ora…

How best to look after our precious New Zealand waterways – a personal view by Laurel Teirney of Wanaka

A personal view by by Laurel Teirney, a former manager at Ministry of Fisheries The success of the community based/scientist/agency approach we adopted for looking after the whole of the Fiordland, and then the Kaikoura Marine Areas makes me feel we’ve struck on a “magic” formula that just might apply to our lakes and rivers…

Birds call out 1080 silent forest claim – courtesy of Radio NZ

NZ falcon becoming airborne

Forget the emotional 1080 debate I reckon – it’s a dead duck – the below opens up tremendous opportunities to save our native birds by allowing us to know more as to numbers and distribution. And something I learnt recently: our beech forests in the South Island and the kauri in North Island both rely…

‘Real community effort’ an owling success | Otago Daily Times Online News

Little Owls, Ida Valley

The Ida Valley and the little town of Oturehua is one of my favourite places, so I was very thrilled to come across this nice story today… Four Ida Valley owls were once centimetres from disaster.Now, with the strength to fend for themselves, the birds have flown off into the wild.Yesterday the young little owls…

Radio Interview with DOC’s Corey Mosen on Kea, and Ajax his Kea Conservation Dog 

Kea kick boxing in Mt Aspiring National Park

Corey and his dog Ajax have stayed with me a few times at Aspiring Hut in Mt Aspiring National Park, and this morning on National Radio he was interviewed by Kim HIll, where he gives an excellent 15 min. interview about where we’re at in saving our incredibly intelligent, loveable and witty alpine parrot Hear…

Kākā like men with beards

Kaka

The South Island kākā are Nationally Vulnerable and of significant concern, especially when you see how they behave with bearded men. Their amusing antics and raucousness led Māori to refer to them as chattering and gossiping – now we can add grooming: Video courtesy of Brian Miller ~ https://lifelogs.co.nz

Are there more tūī in Wanaka, and other NZ towns?

NZ tui

Over the last few weeks a funny thing has been happening to me re. our New Zealand bird, the iconic tūī. Perhaps because I’ve been able to spend sometime with a few and apart from taking the opportunity to capture the way light reflects from their stunning feather colours and texture, I’ve also used their…

Race to protect the Pupū Springs near Nelson

Ducks at Pupu Springs

More properly named the Te Waikoropupū Springs, they’re the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand, and the largest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere and contain some of the clearest water ever measured this side of Antarctica’s near-frozen Weddell Sea, with a visibility of 63 metres. Antarctica aside the water clarity is in fact…

Black petrels (Taiko) return to Great Barrier Island (Aotea) natal colony ~ Rachel Hufton, Ecologist reports…

Male Black Petrel

Mt   Hobson   (Hirakimata) on Great  Barrier Island  at   621m,   is home to the largest breeding colony of black   petrel   (Taiko)   Procellaria  parkinsoni. The  geologically and ecologically captivating slopes of Mt Hobson comprise semi-mature forest with remnants of ancient and precious  conifer forest.  The woodland assemblage combines endemics such…

Robins flourish, dawn chorus returns to the Mt Aspiring National Park | Stuff.co.nz

South Island robins

Over the last few months I’ve often posted about the work being done in the West Matukituki Valley [home of Aspiring Hut] in Mt Aspiring National Park. Two of the key players are my old friends Stu and Heather Thorne, and I’m delighted here to repost an article by local journo Marjorie Cook of stuff.co.nz…

New Zealand’s clean green image – a couple of points of view

New Zealand's clean green image personified in the Strath Taieri

New Zealand’s clean green image personified in the Strath Taieri ~ photo Southern Light For the third summer running now in Mt Aspiring National Park, I interact with many tourists intent on being the overseas equivalent of a New Zealand tramper. Most know our “Clean Green” marketing ploy is not what it seems, and that…

Fatal attraction: ferret stench to fight pests

stoat killed by 1080 in Mt Aspiring National Park

  A stoat killed by 1080 in Mt Aspiring National Park two years ago ~ photo southernlight.co.nz New Zealand’s imported predator the stoat, is quite an amazing animal, somewhat beautiful too, until you look at it’s claws and teeth! They have a very fast metabolism, thus needing constant snacks, and they don’t live to a…