Journal archives for May 2017

May 06, 2017

Finding a Common Language

Through NatureWatch I met @palomanunezfarias who is a marine biologist from Chile who came and stayed with me for a few days and we went around home looking at different marine life. The main language of Chilie is Spanish but having worked on Rapanui (Easter Island) palomanunezfarias also knew that language as well as a bit of English.

Maori is my main language with English being the common language between us, however, the easiest way for us to communicate was to use Maori and Rapanui!

Which just goes to show you should learn Maori if you ever want to communicate with a Marine biologist from Chile who has worked on Rapanui *LOL*

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Posted on May 06, 2017 23:55 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 10, 2017

Kaitarakihi in the Manuka - Something Different to Explore

On 4th May 2017 we went to Kaitarakihi in the Manuka where I have never been before.

After a long drive of more than 15 minutes (which at home would get you to at least 10 different beaches) we finally arrived and were the only ones there - I can so relate to that :)

The sand was different from what I see all the time at home, more like very small pebles that are not small enough to be grains of sand yet. The tide was close to the low and the beach and rocks were exposed as can be seen in the photo above. Now don't those rock pools look interesting?

Marine Life
Wandering out and looking around highlighted for me the lack of marine life here, with rock pools being mainly deviod of critters - didn't even see the usual photobombers that lurk in most rock pools at home - common triple fins and glass shrimps!

Finding rocks to turn over was a mission as well as there are not many loose rocks here. However, when we did finally find a rock to turn over that was a whole new world! At home, as there are so many rocks, if you turn over one the chances are very high that you will see at least 5 chitons and one crab. However here when you turn over a rock there are tens of crabs all gathered together - probably because there are not many rocks so they all have to share here! There were alot of the New Zealand Half Crab (Petrolisthes elongatus) which I am not familiar with so seeing those was great - and getting good photos as they scurry away took a bit of practice.

There was also a meadow of Eelgrass (Zostera muelleri ssp. novozelandica) and that was great to see as there is only one place where I have seen a medow at home and it is not one of the places I frequent alot.

My marine find of the day was seeing Sertularia unguiculata which looks like a feather but is a plant. Even though it was washed up seeing something new was exciting!

Plant Life
The cliffs beside the beach was a great world to explore - and it if a good thing I had a guide as I would have missed all of the amazing plants and locations. Seeing Jointed Wire Rush (Apodasmia similis)- and this is a plant I "know" - growing on a cliff face and not on coastal dunes is something I would have totally missed if @pjd1 did not point it out to me as well as 2 amazing liverworts that have stunning patterns as can be see in the selection below.

The plant find of the day for me was the new spider orchid that grows on a cliff face where there is run off and by seeing the plant and the location I will now be checking out those places at home when I return.

Posted on May 10, 2017 00:50 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 8 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 16, 2017

Exploring Penguin Island, Western Australia

Penguin Island is a nature reserve about 500m off the coast of Rockingham and home of the little blue penguin.

On Sunday May 7 2017 my son and I decided to go and explore Penguin Island. Arriving at the departure point I immediately spotted a wattle as well as a sign saying Beware of Snakes - a reminder that even though there are dunes and vegetation to not go wandering off the paths as I usually do and keep an eye out for snakes!

Penguin Island is connected by a sand bar that is shallow enough to walk. However as we do not know the currents here we took the 5 minute boat trip boat across. We could easily see the bottom of sand bar, which also had alot of eel grass - not the species that grows at home though. I also saw eckolonia ratiata washed up and flocks of pied shags (Phalacrocorax varius) flying around but too swift to get good photos :(

From the jetty we went to the Discovery centre and passed 100's of seagulls that were hanging around in the vegetation beside the boardwalk and totally ignoring humans. Their bills have a black tip and when I go the photos up here I found out that these are not the red billed gulls of home, but the Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae).

Arriving at the discovery centre we spent alot of time there while I photograhed the little blue penguins that live at the centre. The wild population are out at sea during the day so this was the best opportunity to get photos of these little birds.

Next we were off to the beaches and coastline. Tides are not really a factor here as there is only about 200mm between high and low so the coastline can be explored anytime and the west side of the island is the only open sea of the Indian Ocean and the only place on the island where there was at least some surf pounding. I was fortuate enough to be shouted a 3mm body suit, dive socks and boots so wading around was not a problem *LOL* We spend about 5 hours exploring rocks all around the island looking for marine life and again it was reinforced to me how lucky I am that my tribal area has marine life everywhere, as here there was not much, with home being the enchmark for me. An intersting find was the Little Blue Periwinkle (Nodilittorina unifasciata) similar to out blue banded periwinkle, but bigger. Also found a few limpets, a couple of chitons and a jellyfish as well as the Purple Rock Crab (Leptograpsus variegatus which lurks around home.

Birds here include the Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys), and the Great Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii) and I could tell it was a tern but had to wait until I was home to find the species. The tricky bird was the Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) which from a distance looked like a black shag, but when I got those photos loaded that is when I found out what it was.

The signs around here explaining about the plants and wildlife are general helpful but specifically useless. For example a sign said the limestone areas are vegetated by the berry saltbush and the wild grape, otherwise known as the mitre bush but I can not find the real name for the wild grape or the mitre bush which is what I photographed so resorted to "plants" again *LOL*

Below is a selection of what I found.

Posted on May 16, 2017 02:49 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 12 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment