Southern Musings

Freddy the fearless NZ falcon, and an update on the status of native birds in the West Matukituki Valley

NZ falcon

There are cautionary things to be learnt from being under a bird – things that can come back to haunt us from childhood: I was about four years old when hand-in-hand with my mother, like my hand in hers while my other held a flavoured and much savoured ice cream. All was good I recall,…

End of Summer Snowline Survey | NIWA

Mt Cook and Mt Tasman

New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research [NIWA] has just carried out and published their annual aerial glacier survey, and for all sorts of reasons apart from their most experienced glaciologist taking part, and the pilot, a very experienced mountaineer, both being old friends and integral to it’s success, there is my own…

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…

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…