Never having blogged before I thought that I would set up a Mahakirau blog. Its purpose is to keep a record of what is going on in the natural world of the estate. I will try to post material regularly. If anyone wants to follow what is going on they can access the blog.
As many of you know Judi and I timed our visit to Christchurch to perfection! Having been there for September 4th and Boxing Day we also managed to be there for the third major, and much more devastating, earthquake. Having experienced all three major quakes and endless aftershocks our hearts go out to those unable to get away. It is a real luxury for us to be able to escape to our piece of paradise and momentarily forget the devastation down south. Needless to say our future plans are now in turmoil.
We have been up here for a week now and have enjoyed hot sun and some good downpours. At first it was very still and in the gloaming and at night the forest took on the feel of the tropics. The crickets and cicadas were deafening - especially when they made it inside! It is now cooler with the southerly flow that has covered the country and is decidedly autumnal at night.
Unwelcome visitors have been a hedgehog by number 18, a rabbit near number 3 reported by Bruno and under our house a possum trying to trash the rat bait stations. A battle of wits, speed and daring at 1.15am was won overwhelmingly by the possum and I returned to bed bloodied and bruised.
On the bird front we had a flock of nine kereru fly past the house. Fantails are everywhere around this part of the estate and Bruno and Barbara had a party of half a dozen at least. The fantails often follow parties of silvereye which disturb the insects. Tomtit are singing occasionally, as are tui, grey warbler and bellbird. There are a few Kingfisher about and we had one dive down towards us from its perch in a rata and snatch a cicada flying past us. A most impressive display of aerial dexterity. Morepork are calling at night and Bruno heard a kiwi. We hope to carry out a comprehensive kiwi call survey shortly. Morepork successfully reared at least two young just below the house. My efforts to attract swallow to nest in the car port failed although they nested in a cave below the waterfall. Numerous swallow around the estate suggest a good breeding season and as people build houses the numbers are likely to increase.
Away from the estate I saw a flock of more than 100 New Zealand Dotterel which suggests a good breeding season and success for all the efforts to rope off nesting areas on beaches around the peninsula.
We have found a few more Kauri around the estate but it is difficult to understand their distribution. Climbing rata is still flowering and generally the vegetation through the estate looks healthy.
Hopefully the next blog will report on a successful kiwi count.