Birding the Pacific

April 15, 2014

15 April 2014: Suva, Fiji

95% humidity and spectacular geography

30°, 95% humidity and spectacular geography

New buildings gradually rising.

New buildings gradually rising.

This is the Suva I remember from the 1980s.

This is the Suva I remember from the 1980s.

Here I am, in the Holiday Inn, Suva. Feeling apprehensive, but excited too. I am off on a Heritage Expedition, “Birding the Pacific”, no doubt with a whole lot of men (and women?) with very long lenses, to island and atoll hop from Fiji, through the islands of Vanuatu, to the Solomons, over a period of just over two weeks.  I am looking forward to warm evenings, like the one I’ve just had, drinking the excellent draft Fijian beer and eating Salad Nicoise, Fiji-style. I hope to find water still so clear and turquoise that I can forget my climate guilt and rejoice in the beauty of the planet. Hopefully we will see birds a little more exotic than the hundreds of Asian Mynahs that are found around here. Last night the full moon hung in a velvet black sky, studded with stars (and possibly mosquitos – there is a rise in rates of Dengue Fever in Fiji that is a bit of a worry). I watched the same moon set over the Maungatua as I left Dunedin a few days ago, at a truly ungodly time of the morning. In the northern hemisphere the moon is currently in eclipse: according to CNN, a “portent of doom”.  Humans are the funniest things. Let the doom begin.

Advertisements

Conservation Inc – 17-18 October 2013

October 22, 2013

Conservation Inc – 17-18 October 2013

The Storify of Conservation Inc – tweeting partnerships, conversations and collaborations to make New Zealand a better place to live in, for all creatures.

  1. Networking is what makes Dunedin and Conservation work at a local level. #ConInc
  2. Minister Nick Smith opened the conference with a few challenges to conservationists.
  3. Nick Smith says that there are now over 200 community based conservation groups in New Zealand. Convenient. #DOCCuts #ConInc
  4. Nick Smith is using dialogue thinking on Conservation.
  5. Nick Smith – visitors don’t want to see a kiwi in a zoo, they want to see it in their natural habitat. #ConInc
  6. Minister Smith aims to re establish iconic bird species on our Great Walks with AirNZ’s help.
  7. Talk of iTraps that can recognize different species.
  8. NZ should aim to be the leader in sustainable ocean management.
  9. “@KorimakoSong: Minister Smith aims to re establish iconic bird species on our Great Walks with AirNZ’s help.” #ConInc
  10. DoC is more than just budgets Nick. He tangata he tangata he tangata!
  11. Ten more marine reserves coming – west coast and subantarctic islands. Otago needs them too! Nick says O needs marine protection.
  12. To build a new initiative put all the players in the room and let them have a conversation. New collaborative forum announced.
  13. Nick Smith speaking at #coninc gives real meaning to that particular hashtag.
  14. The Dept of Conservation’s “vision for conservation” session starts with Lou Sanson, the director general. #ConInc twitter.com/yeptrust/status…
  15. Lou Sanson planted now wilding pines working for Nick Smith, many years ago. Transformation! Now fighting for Ross Sea marine reserve.
  16. Baby boomers r retiring they want 2 be involved. We need to embrace them & maximise their contribution potential – Lou Samson DG DoC #ConInc
  17. #coninc Lou’s two big conservation stories: Moa and Richard Henry (the man). Both sad stories of conservation failure…
  18. Lou Samson wants an inverted triangle for DoC with him at bottom and us at the top. From trickle down to hot air rising. #ConInc
  19. Whakatauki from Lou Sanson that says “for the one who engages in education, opportunities are boundless.” #ConInc twitter.com/yeptrust/status…
  20. Partnerships are how DOC will be working – they want to be as good at working with partners as they are at doing conservation work. #ConInc
  21. Bruce Hanson: Conservation activities do great things for communities. #ConInc
  22. DOC are scaling up. They’re operating across entire ecosystem & looking for where they can make the biggest differences. #ConInc
  23. “We realised that the Crown cannot fully fund #conservation as it needs to be” – Barry Hanson Director of Conservation Partnerships #ConInc
  24. @RobSuisted @KorimakoSong Auto-correct, it can be a wonderful thing – but not this time 😀 #SansonNotSamson
  25. Really Paula , stop being surprised at our commitment and understanding of conservation NZ! #ConInc
  26. Paula – how does DOC work better internally, collaborate with people among resource management community & businesses? #ConInc
  27. It’s all still about money. I disagree it’s harder to be green in tough times. Growing your veges works for me! #ConInc
  28. Tim should stick to showing us pictures of skinks that DoC are conserving! No whoops, that’s Phil Melgren’s job… #ConInc
  29. Tim says that conservation is one of the few things that can deeply connect a business or organisation into a community. #ConInc
  30. Tim shows a video from the Living Water project by DOC & @fonterra about cleaning up NZ’s waterways. fonterralivingwater.com/index.html#spl… #ConInc
  31. I must not be skeptical I must not be skeptical I must not be skeptical … #ConInc
  32. Lou Sanson says that they get $4 back for every $1 spent on conservation in NZ. #ConInc
  33. RT @jjcrazi: what is NZs science literacy level? Have there been any studies done? @sciengage @KorimakoSong
  34. We’re only 3 weeks into this new structure, please give us time to get things going – Lou Sanson DG DoC #ConInc
  35. Lou Sanson just showed the @kiwisforkiwi video at #ConInc and encourages us all to check out the project. youtube.com/watch?v=qiq71q…
  36. WILDNZ launched at #ConInc. Julian Fitter got in first before the Minister!!
  37. Now hearing from David Young about regenerating communities in culture & landscape. #ConInc
  38. David Young: the river that flows, flows for all of us. #ConInc
  39. Re-seeding Aotearoa from mainland islands to personal trap-lines. #ConInc
  40. Round of applause for Mike Joy for speaking out about New Zealand’s clean-green image. David Young says that he’s a patriot. #ConInc
  41. David believes that Thomas Potts is New Zealand’s first conservationist. teara.govt.nz/en/1966/potts-… #ConInc
  42. Mike Joy described as a patriot by David Young. Mike is the recipient of the 2013 Charles Fleming award for conservation. #ConInc
  43. People power! The development of the Mapua Wetland complete with galaxids. Thanks Dave Young and friends. #ConInc
  44. Onto the second theme of the day – staying viable. First up is Gerard De Courcy with Legal Considerations for NGOs. #ConInc
  45. Margy-Jean Malcolm from @unitecnz is talking about the paradoxes of leading community engagement. #ConInc
  46. Margy-Jean wants us to rethink our understanding of “good leadership” amidst the complexities of community engagement. #ConInc
  47. Margie-Jean is so refreshing, talking about leadership as learning. Yea! #coninc
  48. Margy-Jean: Within an organisation, the biggest challenge is to set aside time to reflect on learning. #ConInc
  49. Margie-Jean – you’re wonderful! It’s all about relationships – shared vision, trust and engagement. Messiness, time off, peer learning.
  50. Time for “a funder’s perspective” with Carol Melville from the Otago Community Trust. #ConInc
  51. Good project management is important in securing funding to ensure long term sustainability. #ConInc
  52. We’re straight back in to it after a quick cuppa with @HeatherNewell01 from Foresee Communications on Fundraising in Today’s Climate #ConInc
  53. Philanthropists are the people amongst us – they are ourselves. Heather Newell #ConInc
  54. “People give because you ask them to give” harness the 80% – @HeatherNewell01 #ConInc
  55. Now it’s Stewart Robertson from adart on branding, the symbol of your organisation #ConInc
  56. Branding by Stu. What people think about your organization. Branding is the total process of interaction. What’s your brand?#ConInc
  57. We’ll be posting all of the presentations from #ConInc on our Youtube feed in the coming weeks so you can best leverage the learning!
  58. “@KorimakoSong: Greenpeace – a brand of the right colour and a font of the people. #ConInc@GreenpeaceNZ
  59. There is more energy used online than in the news print industry. Thx Stu! Enjoy your newspaper.
    #ConInc
  60. By building respect and inspiring love, you can move the world. #ConInc
  61. Don’t rely of social media to build your brand. Talk to people! #coninc
  62. Kapiti – the visitor is encased in the reason for conservation. Colin C-H #coninc
  63. “It is perhaps the indirect benefits of Eco sanctuaries that are greater than the direct elements” – Dr Colin Campbell-Hunt #ConInc
  64. Mnstr Smith says #conservation funding not declining “I’ve been a student of stats for to long to believe that” Colin Campbell-Hunt #ConInc
  65. “In this place the needs of the natural environment will come first” – Dr Colin Campbell-Hunt #ConInc
  66. @yeptrust the room immediately erupted in to applause in a display of agreement. #ConInc
  67. Diane Campbell-Hunt ” I reject a shop in an ecosanctuary! Surely there must be some places left where people don’t shop. RIP #coninc
  68. In to a new theme: connecting, joining the green dots. #ConInc
  69. The social benefits of conservation-funding social innovations reconnecting Northland.With Jenny Lynch & David Mules @WWFNewZealand #ConInc
  70. WWF: it’s hard to care for the environment when you’re dealing with poverty and raising kids. #coninc
  71. This is a great presentation by the team from @WWFNewZealand, we recommend you view the video on our YouTube channel next week! #ConInc
  72. David Mules- people must be included in our ecosystem. #coninc
  73. The sense of having fun in nature is critical to all of us, grounds us and gives a sense of place. #coninc
  74. Paul Devlin Banks Peninsula
    Community Conservation. “Luckily two banded dotterels flew in …” #coninc
  75. @ChristchurchCC Perspective on Community Participation in Conservation Projects Paul Devlin Head Ranger a from the field perspective #ConInc
  76. @GarethMP Nick Smith said this morning @ #ConInc we should approach deepsea oil drilling like we approach the fishing industry. Thoughts?
  77. What do we do when the plantings done and there’s nothing in the traps? I’d say have a picnic. #coninc
  78. Having younger trustees like Luke & @jamje548 has been invaluable – even if they do occasionally challenge the older trustees. #ConInc
  79. Sue would like to thank the trusts founding sponsors, Anne Walsh and Rachel Kelly. #ConInc
  80. We have secured a fantastic new sponsorship – watch this space! We will be announcing it in a few weeks. #ConInc
  81. Euan and Lala, our two remaining founding trustees cut the almighty penguin cake! #ConInc twitter.com/yeptrust/status…
  82. Recently joined trust board @yeptrust attended conference thurs/fri #ConInc examining challenges facing cmty conservation groups
  83. Excellent points MT @yeptrust: Today’s story from #ConInc featuring an interview with Euan Kennedy in @odtnews bit.ly/19bt3VD
  84. Goooooood morning folks! I’ve prepared all of the technical elements & I’m ready for show time! See you soon #ConInc twitter.com/yeptrust/status…
  85. Up first this morning at #ConInc is Martin Snedden, Chief Exec of @CommsatTIA about finding a balance between commercialism & nature.
  86. Martin says that tourism is taking off right around the world – the number of outbound visitors hit the 1 billion mark this year. #ConInc
  87. While the largest tourism market is currently from Australia, the Chinese tourism market is booming – which presents challenges! #ConInc
  88. Martin says the one thing he’s learnt is the benefits tourism brings to communities. He tangata again. #coninc
  89. After the recent Fontera scare youd think from the media our economy was just dairy. Its not. Tourism is about equal size. M Sneddon #ConInc
  90. Fresh air fresh water serenity and isolation, not to mention passion, mark NZ tourism. #coninc
  91. “The 100% Pure brand was never meant to be an environmental message, but we must still live up to it to be successful” M Snedden #ConInc
  92. Snedden – the whole debate should be around whether NZ is living up to 100% pure. Accolades for Mike Joy again. #coninc
  93. Visitors to NZ are happy, but what do NZers want for our country? The PM is beginning to listen to the environmental message. #coninc
  94. Tourism now has to stand up and be vocal about the importance of the environment, especially water. #coninc
  95. “The time has come 4 tourism to become more vocal about the environment.Now is the time.I think we can ramp up our message” Snedden #ConInc
  96. Quite a fitting picture – “What people think about during your conference talk”. #ConInc #imupnext (via @iflscience) twitter.com/kimi_collins/st…
  97. If you’re talking about an issue that polarizes people, you wont’ get anywhere unless you find common ground. #ConInc
  98. Snedden: grab hold of the common threads to find a way forward. #coninc
  99. “I have a role in tourism where I can take some of your messages in to tourism, and I think I can drive that alignment” Snedden #ConInc
  100. Refreshing honesty from Martin Snedden in question time. Said IDK about that sorry, rather than just spinning a fictional yarn #ConInc
  101. Up now is a great friend of @yeptrust Anne Walsh from Mainland NZ on the value of sponsorship to a corporate #ConInc twitter.com/yeptrust/status…
  102. “We’ve supported the @yeptrust for over 20 years because its the right thing to do, we believe in the same values” A Walsh Mainland #ConInc
  103. Anne just showed this old Mainland Cheese video with a Hoiho. “You’re a long way from home, mate!”. youtube.com/watch?v=eIHRIk… #ConInc
  104. A key aspect of the Mainland brand is that nature can’t be rushed. With patience and skill, they can create something marvellous. #ConInc
  105. “The more you tell it, the better it gets. Thus is a key take away for all good corporate relationships” – A Walsh Mainland #ConInc
  106. Up now is Euan from the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Trust giving a history of the organisation. 25 years! #ConInc
  107. Euan says that as the responsibility for natural heritage shifts to groups like us, non-ecological challenges will have to be met. #ConInc
  108. Trusts have had to make conservation sexy – getting the public on board is harder than ever. #ConInc
  109. Much of what Euan is talking about can be found in this @odtnews article from the conference yesterday. bit.ly/19bt3VD #ConInc
  110. Conservation needs all the help it can get – it does not need survival of the fittest among its champions. #ConInc
  111. Ewan Kennedy – us crusties need to adopt new technologies. Yes. It’s not that hard. #coninc
  112. Look who we just caught trying to sneak out with a tasty block of Mainland Noble #ConInc #CheekyPenguin twitter.com/yeptrust/status…
  113. @ruthdysonmp we still know very little. Minister made the announcement then cut and run. We’ll remain optimistic for now… #ConInc
  114. First up for this session on connecting is @KorimakoSong with her session on conservation, communication & community. #ConInc
  115. “People are hungry for facts and highly connected to often dubious information on the Internet.” – @KorimakoSong #ConInc
  116. Watching @KorimakoSong at the #ConInc conference – she’s taking about getting messages across & the cutting edge of #scicomm.
  117. About to give a presentation at #ConInc about implementing a social media strategy within a conservation-based organisation. #scicomm
  118. Increasing evidence #climatechange is happening – this graph in @KorimakoSong‘s pres on public attitudes. #ConInc twitter.com/yeptrust/status…
  119. Jean says that in the last few years, people are beginning to listen, respect, and communicate with each other. #ConInc is one example.
  120. Where are the next generation of conservationists coming from? If their cause is a faster Internet connection, how do we adapt? #ConInc
  121. “Many youngsters are transfixed on their screens & becoming scared of getting out in the environment”- @KorimakoSong. Your thoughts? #ConInc
  122. Buy less stuff and recycle more – we can’t grow this economy any more! @KorimakoSong #ConInc
  123. Up now we have the presentation “Linkages: Online tools & social media” with Nathan Champion from @Datacom and @kimi_collins #ConInc
  124. “Create a set of criteria so you can objectively look at available options to select the best tool” – Nathan Champion #ConInc
  125. @yeptrust @KorimakoSong also real economic barriers, less access to vehicles a few school camps isn’t the same as everyday outdoor exp.
  126. Get into social media but be clear about your message! @kimi_collins totally connected. #ConInc
  127. “Know what you want to achieve with social media. Just select the most appropriate forms & do them WELL!” – @kimi_collins #ConInc
  128. Now we’re hearing from Kerry-Jane Wilson from the West Coast Blue Penguin Trust. yellow-eyedpenguin.org.nz/conservationin… #ConInc
  129. Blue penguins alert us to biodiversity issues on the West Coast such as the decline of Westland petrel & Fiordland Crested penguin. #ConInc
  130. “Where do groups get funding once established thanks to Biodiversity Seeding Funds?” – Kerry-Jane Wilson #ConInc
  131. The most endangered taxa on the West Coast are Powelliphanta snails. 17 West Coast taxa are endangered or threatened. #ConInc
  132. The tricky element of evaluation with Les McNamara #ConInc
  133. Good onya Les McNamara! Evaluating the success of projects is scary and potentially tedious, but is SO important to overall effort. #ConInc
  134. Grassroots projects are all about stewardship- kaitiakitanga – and passion, not cost effectiveness. He tangata! #ConInc
  135. “There is resistance from all quarters to linking conservation and biodiversity to economic’s” – Les McNamara #ConInc
  136. Hard to evaluate social outcomes of conservation projects without some sort of measurement. #ConInc
  137. Monika Peters: “who’s from community groups? Raise your hand. Now bend your arm and give yourselves a big pat on your back!” #ConInc
  138. Monika: main people in community groups 51-65 and NOT CRUSTIES! #ConInc
  139. “The main activities community groups are doing is planting/weeding & advocacy” – Monica Peters #ConInc
  140. @monica peters: nearly half community groups in conservation are monitoring their results longterm. #ConInc
  141. This is all about democratizing science. So groups can say ‘our water quality is … and we have the data to prove it’. Yes Monica! #ConInc
  142. We are all “innovationing”. Farmer on a project. #ConInc
  143. Karen Schumacher from the East Taranaki Biodiversity Accord is currently discussing the development of the Accord #ConInc
  144. “What I am encouraging you to do, is be proud of your passion, you play an incredible role, NZ can’t do it without you.” M Snedden #ConInc
  145. You must appreciate you need other people to help to do what you do & other people don’t necessarily see it the way you do – Snedden #ConInc
  146. Personally I’m not convinced that bigger groups are more effective. Needed – perhaps. But Taranaki seems to be getting it together. #ConInc
  147. You need to take a breath, listen & try & see it from others eyes. By doing this you will make far more progress. M Sneddon #ConInc
  148. Te Ara kakariki – the green way. What a great name! The aim is to restore kakariki to Cant plains through green corridors. #ConInc
  149. Te Ara Kakariki A hard days planting in the rain makes food taste really good! #ConInc
  150. “We have a problem with protecting biodiversity, that is why this conference is so important” – Minister Nick Smith #ConInc @NZNationalParty
  151. Give sponsors time on the bus to talk about their organization, on the way to the planting site. Kia kaha Brooke! Te Ara Kakariki #coninc
  152. “If businesses are still around they must be doing something right, we should learn this from business” – Brooke Turner #ConInc
  153. 8,232 people could have seen the hashtag #ConInc since its 1st mention until it became a Trending Topic. #trndnl
  154. Julian Fitter: If it isn’t going to be there in 50 years time, let it go” – isn’t that all coastal conservation? Think big picture! #coninc
  155. Bobby Tracey, Bayfield College, has an enormous knowledge and understanding of the past as well as a vision of the future. #coninc
  156. Human influence and imagination are needed for the future of the planet. But we disasterously equip kids for the future. Bobby. #coninc
  157. Bobby Tracey from Bayfield high – “Conservation is not a want, conservation is a need!” #ConInc
  158. Hamish Darling has a great ‘back in my day’ conservation story from about 10 years ago. To have a future you need to have a past. #coninc
  159. “As conservation becomes mainstream the number of people involved will explode, it will be enormous” – Hamish Darling #ConInc #YouthPanel
  160. We could kidnap big businessmen, take them into the wild with a bunch of young people and change their attitudes. It would be fun! #coninc
  161. “There are not many young people involved in orgs like @yeptrust not due to apathy bt failure to reach out”-Lydia McLean #ConInc #YouthPanel
  162. Lydia McLean proposes internships for young people in conservation organizations to build the next green leaders. #coninc
  163. From all the team at @yeptrust we’d like to thank everyone for their support in celebrating our 25th year at #ConInc twitter.com/yeptrust/status…
  164. “Social media is a massive mover of young people social media can gt to those nt in the conservation choir”-Lydia McLean #ConInc #YouthPanel
  165. “People who care about the enviro are shunned by society as greenies, in 25 yrs this will all change” – Torea Scott-Fyfe #ConInc #YouthPanel
  166. Here are the 4 great young speakers from our #YouthPanel who closed #ConInc today great ideas & vision! twitter.com/yeptrust/status…
  167. A massive thank-you to the Yellow Eyed-Penguin Trust for a wonderful time at #ConInc today! What an inspiring group! #YouthPanel
  168. @yeptrust thanks for such a great conference, I learnt so much at #ConInc
  169. Thanks Otago, we had a blast. But now it’s time to head back to the wop wops. #coninc

Read next page

Did you find this story interesting? Be the first to
or comment.

Liked!

Spring in winter

August 23, 2013

Having just had the warmest July on record apparently, August has marched on by with a multitude of bright fine days. The average temperature hovers around 12°C, whereas further north Nelson and Gisborne have regularly touched 18°C.  Now the University of Otago campus is full of pink blossom and magnolia flowers, although the white cherries along the Leith aren’t out yet.  The kowhai are blooming at the head of North East Valley and my broccoli and cauliflowers are growing too fast for me to eat.  Spring in Dunedin should be at least a week away, but I am not complaining.  I’m back on my bike and enjoying the longer days and beautiful dawns.Image

  IMG_0594

Today I drove out on Highcliff to revisit my favourite places on the Peninsula. First, a stop at the Tomahawk Lagoon, where I found four of the seven white herons (kotuku) that have called this suburban wildlife reserve home over the winter.  They retreated to their favourite dead tree, too far away for a photo, as soon as I got out of the car. They were still close enough to see their wonderful trailing tail feathers and large yellow bills.  The tide was draining the harbour and the day was still and cloudy, when I stopped on the high road. Rugby fans were celebrating the win of the Ranfurly Shield, in the toaster, which dominates Dunedin unmercifully.

The toaster

Turning to look north, the harbour claimed the sky.

Cloud harbour   New lambs

New lambs dotted the hills and the reflections of the boatsheds at Broad Bay reminded me of times past, kayaking in the bay.

Broad Bay

Home again and the kowhai flowers are nearly out, though snow is forecast for later next week. It has been a strangely warm winter.

Low cloud on Cargill

Autumn leaves at the University of Otago

April 24, 2013

IMG_0011

IMG_0008

IMG_0007

April at Otago

Autumn in Dunedin

Orokonui autumn day

April 14, 2013

A fine, still day, where the mists lay on the hills and the bush was lit as if by bioluminescence. Today I saw my first robin at Orokonui – an unbanded bird, but quite adult looking. The tomtits were everywhere, attached to the side of trees with Velcro claws. I came across a kaka, ripping apart some bark. The fantails fluttered and squeaked around, picking off the flying insects the kaka disturbed. There were hundreds of fantails everywhere, more than I’ve ever seen at Orokonui, but they move too fast in the dark bush for my photographic ability.  A luscious afternoon in Tane’s forest.

A misty autumnal afternoon, viewed from Orokonui.

A misty autumnal afternoon, viewed from Orokonui.

The afternoon light caught the coloured neck feathers and beak.

The afternoon light caught the coloured neck feathers and beak of this kereru.

Young life in the bush.

Spot the fantail...

Spot the fantail…

Tomtits everywhere, like little yellow jumpered spies.

Tomtits everywhere, like little yellow jumpered spies.

Old man rimu sheltering new growth.

Old man rimu sheltering new growth.

The bright feathers of the kaka, high in the bush.

The bright feathers of the kaka, high in the bush.

I know I shouldn't post such "mistakes", but I love the sense of colour and movement here, as this kaka preens.

I know I shouldn’t post such “mistakes”, but I love the sense of colour and movement here, as this kaka preens.

NZ South Island robin greeted me on my return journey back up the hill.

NZ South Island robin greeted me on my return journey back up the hill.

NZ robin

NZ robin

A wonderful Wednesday in Rakiura

March 24, 2013

Rakiura is one of the Maori names for Stewart Island, which sits right at the bottom of the South Island. The original Maori name, Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui, reminds us that it is also the anchor stone of the great canoe (the South Island), from which the legendary superhero, Maui, caught the big fish that is now the North Island of New Zealand. The name Rakiura can be interpreted as “glowing skies”, a reference to the amazing sunsets and also perhaps to the Aurora Australis, which can often be viewed from this wild place. Rakiura is primarily a National Park. It is one of the places where human impact has been minimised, where kaka (bush parrots) sometimes greet you when you arrive at your accommodation and where you can still view kiwi in the wild.

ImageImage

I spent a wonderful day on Rakiura last week, with friends visiting from the US. We spent the afternoon walking the tracks and beaches of Ulva Island, a small, pest-free island (no rodents, stoats, weasels or possums) in Patterson’s inlet, where the robins came to investigate the insects disturbed by our feet.

Image

That evening we dined on fat Stewart Island oysters and fresh blue cod,

Image

before heading off in a small boat for Ocean Beach with Philip and Greg of Bravo Adventures, through a blazing sunset studded with wheeling Buller’s Mollymawks.

Image

 

Image

Once through the short bush walk and onto the beach, we stood on a smooth crescent of pale sand, with the Tasman waves cracking down beside us, half a moon to light our footsteps and the million billion stars of the milky way above our heads. Under the stars of the Southern Cross we saw four Stewart Island brown kiwi, foraging for sand-hoppers (amphipods), up to their faces in sand and seemingly oblivious to the six dumb-struck tourists watching them.  What a night!

Image

The following morning I bid this paradise farewell in a perfect dawn, as the fishing boats left for another day in fertile waters, and headed back to work.

Image

Orokonui

March 24, 2013

Bellbird chorus

The bellbirds were in fine form at Orokonui this afternoon. I even saw a pair mating – second spring? Plenty of tomtits but still no robins. The Easter orchid is flowering and smelling quite delicious.

IMG_7232 IMG_7241 IMG_7261

Taken a few springs ago.

Courting bellbirds, taken a few springs ago.

These are young bellbirds, revealing in the sugar water.
These are young bellbirds at an Orokonui feeder, revelling in the sugar water.

 

 

Puglia

June 7, 2012

I rounded off the trip with a wonderful week in Puglia (in the heel of the boot of Italy), run by The Gables (www.gables.co.nz/puglia/).

 

London

June 7, 2012