Otago’s Aramoana Ecological Area – The Spit and Pilot’s Houses

Sea Lion Aramoana

A few months ago I was privileged to be appointed to the Otago Conservation Board. Such appointments are made by the Minister of Conservation. The first duty of a member is to work to achieve the statutory interests of the board. Members are not representatives for any cause or organisation. Board meetings are public, and…

Exploring the Catlins – New Zealanders playing as tourists — part 3

catlins windswept trees at slope point

Exploring the Catlins – New Zealanders playing as tourists – part 2

Stinkhorn fungi and flies, Catlins, Otago, NZ

Prior to this five day trip down the length of the coastline south of Dunedin known as the Catlins, my knowledge was limited to widely spaced out experiences such as an outdoor first aid course at the largest town Osaka, a school trip to a camp at Pounawea, a marvellous tramping and bushcraft training trip…

The SPCA’s anti-1080 policy isn’t just naive, it’s dangerous | The Spinoff

Dead stoat poisoned by 1080

I’ve known for years that the cost and logistics of managing and eventually eliminating the introduced predators that are killing off our native bird species is not possible with trapping alone, and that even if it was we would not have enough people in New Zealand to do the job, man, woman and children included,…

Exploring the Catlins – New Zealanders playing as tourists – part 1

Catlins Estuary sunset

While composing the first of three posts [too many photos for one] on this southern Otago coast-line what comes to mind is shipwrecks! This, because of spending an hour or two in the museum at Owaka, and if I recall correctly there have been dozens of them [an on-line search will easily bring up the…

Native bird numbers double during 20-year Department of Conservation pest control study – NZ Herald

Marks Flat

Since this was published in lots of local papers a few months back, now seems a good time to republish, given that since then we’ve seen new heights of unimagined hysteria regarding  how DOC and the Govt. continue to use 1080 successfully in vast areas of our landscape, that we can’t access easily, and even…

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,…

A new challenge in life

Otago Conservation Board members 2019

A few months ago I was surprised to learn I’d been appointed to the Otago Conservation Board, a statutory body. This had quite a flow to it so I decided it must have meant to be! The first thought I had was “goodness, Otago is a really large and diverse place”. For it spans east…

Rogue weather for a roadie from Central Otago to the Mckenzie Basin and back again via Dunedin – Wanaka Images and Photography

Lake Pukaki dust storm

Up until a couple off months ago I’d not done much in the way of New Zealand native bird photography for awhile, so wanting to visit relatives on the east coast starting from Timaru then proceeding through Oamaru to Dunedin and as I’ve done before I hatched a plan to visit favourite inland places that…

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…