Journal archives for June 2016

June 17, 2016

Nudibranches and Brittle Stars Abound at Otaipango

It is June which is winter in New Zealand but up here in the real far north, remote and removed from Auckland, the crowds, traffic, housing crisis and people we are having beautiful warm days this week, the low tides while high and not turbulant, are low around late morning, early afternoon and are just calling out to me to go and explore.

Now Otaipango (Henderson Bay) is an explorer's paradise as there are so many different habitats all within a short distance to each other, from sandy lagoons, to tidal guts, rock strewn floors, seaweed gardens, rock pools and side alleys, all at different depths.

Due to safety reasons, I do not go out past where I can stand, so everything I find is within shallow water.

On Jun 16 I heard the siren song of the ocean while basking in the sun on my stressful deck and as I could not resist I went to see what I could find.

When I arrive and stand at the top of the cliff looking out I scan the ocean and think to myself, "Where shall I go today?". I had been asked to get photos of the backs of brittle stars and barnacles so that dictated that I should go past the barnacles and out to brittle star alley. However, the tide was still on it's way out so I decided to work my way to brittle star alley, past the barnacles by exlpoing an area I had not been into before.

This was where I found the clown doris, the beautiful nudibranch with the orange dots on it. It was practising arebatics on a seaweed and while I was watching I got slapped by the tail of a koura, or crayfish!

Brittle star alley produced the goods and then I thought I would go to another gut and test the idea that brittle stars live in shallow subtidal zones, under rocks that are on sand. Wandering over there I found the black brittle star which is the first one that I have ever seen and I was totally stoked with that. There in that gut I also found the second nudibranch of the day, the black doris.

Four hours had now passed and the tide was on it's way in so I started to wander back home and that is when I spotted the third nudibranch of the day and a first for me to see, the gem doris grazing on the common coralline.

An amazing day of discovery in my little corner of the world. The lines of the song are so true,
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Posted on June 17, 2016 21:58 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 7 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment