14 de outubro de 2019

Wheke of Otaipango Tries Photography

After taking photos of this wheke it decided to get in on the act and grabbed my camera. A good thing I had the cord around my wrist as it has a very strong pull. Pulling out my other camera I got this photo showing the wheke with my main camera and the grey cord you can see stretched tight is attached to my other wrist.

As I had someone with me, they took the cord of the camera the wheke had, then I got down to get some photos with the other camera. The wheke initially had the camera upside down.

Once it had sorted out which was was which, it thought to try and take a photo of a human, not a common species seen regularly by the wheke.

However, distracted by it's good looks, it forgot to press the button.

So the first wheke photographer of Otaipango did not get any photos.

Meanwhile in Wellington in April 2000 this wheke stole a camera while it was recording and from that video we can see it is the same species. I am not sure if these 2 are related, and I am not sure if there is any research into kleptomania and octopus. Is it just this species that has a fascination with photography or are there other species as well?

Posted on 14 de outubro de 2019, 02:15 AM by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 1 observação | 2 comentários | Deixar um comentário

01 de outubro de 2019

First Observations for iNat from Te Werahi Area

There are many areas in Aotearoa that do not have obs recorded in this site, usually due to accessibility or the fact that they are not located close to a large city, and Te Werahi is one such place. Located on the north western corner of the North Island, bounded by the Tasman Sea and dunes reaching 100m height, this wild, windswept location takes effort to get there, but is worth it.

Within this area there is a small island called Taupiri and in the 1990's seed was collected from kahikatoa / manuka that grew there. At the time, it was thought that these low growing plants were because of the windswept environment. However, when the seeds were grown, away from the rugged coast, they still grow as a low growing creeper - what was going on here? Is this an undescribed species or something - dare I say it - strange?

On Sep 29 2019 @pjd1 and Theo decided to go there to see if they could gather specimens and naturally they stayed with me :D. We planned the day and I casually mentioned to @indeynz about going there and he immediately wanted to come, offering to carry my gear in return. Well, how could I say no when I had someone to carry my dive boots as we all know those are a priority :D Didn't try and push my luck and get my wetsuit carried as well LOL

We walked 3kms from the Te Werahi gate, through a paddock, dropping to a swamp then up through scrub and then down the dunes to the beach. From there it was a hard slog up the 100m high dunes , but along there I could easily see the moana, the tide was on it's way out, and calling to me.

So we decided to split, with indynz and I dropping down to the ocean (the blue line on the map and 1km) while pjd1 and son carried on out to the island (the green line on the map) and met up with us on the beach after another 2 1/2 kms.

Below, the photo on the left shows the scrub and vegetation on the top of the back dunes before dropping down. This was a spot that we often used to camp at in the 1990s and not much has changed! The photo on the right is when we made it down to Te Werahi, and indeynz is pointing out our route, across the stream, along the left of the "green hill" then the hard slog up that 100m high sand dune in the background.

The photo below shows what the terrain is like half way up the 100m high dune. The "blue dot" in the photo on the sand is indeynz to give you an idea of scale.

Below, the photo on the left shows one of the tantalizing views that kept calling out once we were about 50m up the dune (not the person in the photo who was also mesmerised by the views). The tide was on the way out and more and more rocks were getting exposed and became too hard to resist. The photo on the right is the view when we got down to that beach. In the background you can see the "sand slide" which would have been about 50m, and that is where pjd1 and Theo came down to join us again.

Sadly they did not find the plants they were looking for out there as kikuyu had overtaken the island, effectively eradicating it. But no worries as I had a back up site where I knew this grew, is easy to get to (no hard slog up and down dunes) and is in my backyard LOL

However, we did find other interesting things, as can be seen from the selected photos below. Indeynz also found interesting things as we were looking in different areas which can be seen here

But the highlight of the day for me was being in an area of spectacular grandeur with the excellent company of @indeynz @pjd1 and Theo and being chauffeur driven in my rohe :D Appreciate the great day out!

Posted on 01 de outubro de 2019, 03:06 AM by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 8 observações | 2 comentários | Deixar um comentário

14 de setembro de 2019

Haere Ra Wade Doak

One of the first to advocate for the protection of the marine environment in the 1960s and the reason for the Poor Knights Marine Reserve being formed, Wade, who was sometimes compared to Jacques Cousteau has passed at 79 years of age.

Our world is a much richer place because he came.

Moe mai ra e te rangatira.

Northland marine expert Wade Doak dies aged 79

Posted on 14 de setembro de 2019, 09:27 PM by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 0 comentários | Deixar um comentário

11 de setembro de 2019

NZ Shell Photo ID - Now Live - Includes Barnacles and Echinoderms

Officially launched! The NZ shell photo ID guide that our user @indeynz (Andrew) has spent the last two years coding for his website mollusca.co.nz is now finally live!

Following the prompts or looking at photos, you can use it to narrow down what the shell is that you have found, as long as the shell is commonly encountered, either at the moana or on the whenua.

As a lot of people who are new to identifying mollusa can sometimes think that a barnacle or a kina is a mollusca, both of these phyla are also a part of the Identify guide.

Here is the URL
NZ Mollusca Identify by Shape or Form

Background to this guide.
Indeynz lives up my way which means we often get together to roam the moana. About 4 years ago, I started hinting there should be a shell ID guide (similar to the NZ Birds Online) to help people like me find an ID. Naturally I got told, "Oh no! That will be too hard - I am never going to do that!"

For those of you who know me, that answer was not an option. So every now and again, for the next 2 years I would hint about the great idea for the guide and he finally caved, so he could come over to my whare more often. I realised after a few times, it was because I had faster internet connections than he usually had, so he could update his laptop, as long as he was working on the guide.

A few months ago, we were at a stage that it could go live, so I contacted some of you to test it - and your input was very valuable and appreciated by both of us :D

Disclaimer from indeynz who is standing here as I type this (and his laptop updates):
This is still a work in progress. Any feedback on the guide would be most welcome. You can send me a message through here, or contact me through my website NZ Mollusca

So now the next time you go to the moana and find a shell that you do not know, have a go with this guide!

Enjoy :D

Posted on 11 de setembro de 2019, 05:09 AM by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 6 comentários | Deixar um comentário

15 de fevereiro de 2019

Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve

My curiousity abut the Poor Knights was triggered when I took @pjd1 down to the G2 a couple of years ago. After putting his head underwater, he popped straight back up and said, "This is amazing! I have not seen this much diversity on mainland New Zealand!"

"Huh?", says me, "this is normal."

"No, this is not normal on the mainland. I have only seen this richness of diversity at the Poor Knights and the Mokohinau."

Since then I have been to a few beaches outside of my rohe, and I started to understand what he meant and came to appreciate home more and more as I saw places that have been stripped of marine life and you have to hunt to find things instead of choosing one area and spending hours lurking there and still not have seen everything there is to see. Now when I visit a beach that is not at home, before I go I say to myself, "This is not home, it will not have the diversity," which helps because I enjoy the places that I have been to.

This year my son and I finally made it to the Poor Knights so I could to see for myself what it is like out there. Naturally the weather was great, the skies blue and only about a 1.5m swell. A Buller's Shearwater escorted us over to the Poor Knights, easily keeping up.

The water was clear with good visibility down at least 10m in most areas so it was easy to see fish and brown alga. Along the rock face (where the island plunges into the sea) the demarkation line between the different tides zones was very noticable - almost like someone had drawn a line and from there down different red alga grew and were not seen above the line. With the swell it was really helpful to be risen up to see that zone, then taken down to see a zone below.

Upon departing we went for a look around some of the other islands. The photo below was taken then, showing two "Hole in the Rocks"

Overall we had a great day, exploring a new place. Alot of other people on this trip were blown away with the thick weeds and lots of fish. For anyone else this would be a spectacularly mind blowing place!

We however can see all of this in our own backyard, the thickness of the browns and at times lots of fish swimming around, coming up close like they did here. We are also interested in all marine life so spent a good hour and a half following along the rock wall for about 100m to see what we could find and the answer was not much. When I do the same thing here I am lucky to do 20m in that time because of the many things I see and stop to photograph. However, that could reflect that this was a completely different ocean enviornment and that is why the diversity in the area we explored was not as great as the diversity at home.

This trip was not disappointing as finally seeing it was worth it, but has strongly re-enforced how amazing home is and has given both of us an even greater appreciation of our own backyard, where we do not have to take a 25km boat ride out to sea, instead, just a short drive then walk and the wonderland is there for the exploring :)

Posted on 15 de fevereiro de 2019, 06:06 AM by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 8 observações | 0 comentários | Deixar um comentário

08 de fevereiro de 2019

Most of Blue Fleet Welcomes Me Home

Usually when I return home after being away, the first chance I get I'm in the water and usually welcomed by wheke which we all know are common and easily spotted :D

However, the first time I went down to the beach the water was rough, with white caps everywhere and I did not fancy photographing sand particles in good focus with a creature lurking in the background of the photo, so we did a hikoi (walk) along the beach instead.

The tide was on its way out and up in the high tide mark I spotted Janthina - photographing those in strong winds is a mission as those shells are light! LOL Then heading towards the water, in the next wash line, were by-the wind sailors and then I saw the blue buttons.

Aha! He tohu tena pea? A sign perhaps? Surely if there were a few blue buttons around then those elusive Sea swallows, Glaucus atlanticus, will be around somewhere. So heading towards the water again, sure enough on the next wash line there they were! Totally stoked to see these again.

Of course, when I first found the Blue Fleet I did not know at that time that there were 2 different species that wash up from the Glaucus whanau, and as this was the first time I had seen them since then, this was the ideal opportunity to take a very good look at them and see if I could spot the two species clearly and sure enough. After lurking and studying and looking closely, the two species are easy to spot, as seen in the photo below :)

Right: Glaucus atlanticus Left: Glaucilla bennettae

I also noticed that the Glaucilla bennettae were all together further down the beach while where the Glaucus atlanticus were, there were also a few of the Glaucilla bennettae. So maybe the Glaucilla bennettae prefer to hang out by themselves.

However, the blue bottle - the most common of the blue fleet was no where to be seen!

Further Reading: Distinguishing Glaucus atlanticus and Glaucilla bennettae is a post I put on the Blue Fleet Monitoring Project.

Posted on 08 de fevereiro de 2019, 09:14 PM by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 7 observações | 6 comentários | Deixar um comentário

20 de janeiro de 2019

Ngahere and Moana in One Day

Both the ngahere and the moana are special places and at home I have the option of going to either the ngahere or the moana as there are all of the dune habitats that border on the moana.

However, as I am in Tamaki Makau Rau at the moment, on Sat 19 Jan 2019 @pjd1 picked me up and after a great korero and kai at his kainga with his lovely wife and children, he took me and one of his sons' to Kendall Bay, a place that I have not been to before.

Arriving at the place where we parked we went through a ngahere and wow! I could recognise some plants but there were alot of ones I had never seen before and naturally I had a camera with me. After wandering through the ngahere we arrived at the beach, without any of the usual dune habitat that I am used to.

The beach was different from what I am used to habitat wise and diversity wise, but we still found new things to photograph. Once the tide was on its way in, we headed up another track through the ngahere and I had to marvel at how it was possible to visit both the moana and ngahere in one day at one location.

To @pjd1 for all of your time and sharing this special place with me and to Theo our keen spotter, from the bottom of my heart, this was a truly wonderful day!

Below are the 8 life firsts for me - a mix of moana and ngahere :D

Posted on 20 de janeiro de 2019, 07:58 AM by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 8 observações | 2 comentários | Deixar um comentário

28 de agosto de 2018

Journey to the Sea Anemone Cave

Last week we found a cave that had a strange sea anemone growing in it (https://inaturalist.nz/observations/15675292) , so I said we would go back and try and get better photos and on Monday that is what we did.

Now this sea cave is right up at Scotts Point, the northern end of Ninety Mile Beach, affectionatly called the Tohe and the only access is along the Tohe. Of course that has always been dependant on the tides but until recently when mother nature decided to close Te Paki there was an escape off ramp about 2kms south. Now the closest on and off ramp is 55kms south which means that if the tides were missjudged there was not a close escape route.

Monday was a .6m low tide but the swells were about 2m. When @indeynz, my trustee side kick, photo assistant and walking mollusca encyclopeadia and I got to the Tohe about 2 1/2 hours before the low, I could see straight away that it was running high, but after reading all of the tohu out there, I decided to go up and see if we could make it.

Make no mistake though, this decision was based on an intimate knowlege of the Tohe, tides and moods and I would not recommend anyone to do this journey in the condition that it was out there without that intimate knowlege.

Now lately when we have headed up there I only have my underwater camera and each time I would see a manu out there I'd say, "Ahhh - I wish I had my good camera!" This time however I did, hence all of the bird photos from this day and some good kekeno / seal photos :)

After getting pass the Bluff - which can be a cut off point - we were totally shocked to see this a bit further up! I have NEVER seen that out there!

We finally arrived at the northern end at about 40mins before the turn and the water was high. Where it is usually exposed there was waves coming in. So after a quick study of the area we decided to see if we could get around to the cave. This involved scrambling over rocks and hugging the cliff so we didn't get splashed by the waves, or worse case senario washed off.

Getting around the point there was water into the cave and at the foot of the cave, a direct result of the turbulant seas that had dumped alot of sand in this area. We surprised a kekeno - fur seal - who was on the rocks on the other side of a small gut and it took off. We then jumped across the gut and walked over the rocks and into the cave.

Once in there we quickly did our photos, mindfull of the time and tides and in fact there was a moment where we had to scramble up the sides as the waves came crashing in.

Getting the photos home and looking at them I see that there are so many other things I did not see at the time so do not have good photos of, so we will plan a serious cave photograhing expedition at a later date, when the swells are not so high!

Posted on 28 de agosto de 2018, 08:00 AM by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 6 observações | 8 comentários | Deixar um comentário

12 de agosto de 2018

Recycling - Tohe (90 Mile Beach) Style

Sooner or later out on the Tohe a foolish driver who does not know what they are doing will get their vehicle so stuck that's not possible to get it out.

The above photo shows a car stuck after a turn of the tide.

Within 4 tide turns there will be no sign of the car and I have often wondered what happend to it. I knew sooner or later it would be broken down by mother nature but did not realise to what extent recycling went to out here until we came across this yesterday.

Seems the tyre has been recycled and has become a home for goose barnacles, green alga and crabs. Nice to see that some human rubbish in the ocean can help instead of hinder :D

Posted on 12 de agosto de 2018, 02:53 AM by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 5 observações | 4 comentários | Deixar um comentário

17 de julho de 2018

Bracken - Pteridium esculentum - Revenge Seeker :)

There are so many introduced plants that are invasive and end up crowding out natives and endemics and I have often wondered is there a native or endemic plant that can crowd out the invasive introduced species? Well I finally have an answer and it is YES!!!!!!!!!!

I had an area at my place that had the african daisy and it was spreading rapidly, so I decided when I returned home I would start the labourious task of ripping it out by hand. I have now returned home and have found that aruhe - Bracken - Pteridium esculentum - has taken over a large area where those daisies were growing! I am totally stoked that finally a native is getting revenge on an invasive!

In the photo below you will be able to see what it looked like when in flower

The same area now - you can still see a few of the cape daisy leaves trying to get able the aruhe.

So now I am going to see if I can get the aruhe to grow where the blue corn lily is and maybe it will be able to erradicate that and save me having to hand pull.

Posted on 17 de julho de 2018, 03:07 AM by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 1 observação | 5 comentários | Deixar um comentário