Thursday, 21 April 2011

Autumn weather

Earlier in the week we had the first southerly blast of the autumn. we were in Auckland and the weather was really foul. It came as a bit of a shock after such lovely weather for so long. However by the time we got back to Mahakirau the sun was shining again! Although it had felt very cold with the strong wind the minimum temperature we recorded was 7C. Today it was up to 18C and felt much hotter in the sun.
Judi and I went for a bush-wack along the boundary between lots 12 and 13 (us and Harold) where we thought we had spied a large Kahikatea with the telescope. Finally we found a magnificent old specimen and a couple of younger trees nearby. The ridge appears to have been heavily logged in the past but for some reason this tree was left untouched.
Much of our time in the bush recently has been spent trying to identify different fern species. The estate is fantastically rich in ferns and while Judi has already identified a wide range we have probably only just begun to appreciate the diversity. The same is true of the fungi which are everywhere at the moment. Bruno and Barbara have found some interesting specimens and every time we venture out we seem to see some new type.
Birds have been active with flocks of up to a dozen silvereye, often accompanied by fantail. Tui and bellbird are singing well now and we saw eleven tui in the air at once above the house. Kingfisher are still around but are fairly quiet. Their food may be less bountiful as the cicadas have gone quiet and the crickets are less numerous. The same can't be said for the rosellas which have been very active and noisy.
Last night we caught our fifteenth possum since we came up from Christchurch a few weeks ago. Bruno has also caught several and we saw one tonight on the road by lot 18. They all look very healthy with magnificent coats.
Our next blog is likely to come from somewhere in the northern hemisphere so if anyone is on the estate and sees something interesting please keep a record or let me know and I will report it.

Sunday, 10 April 2011


Its been a while since I blogged but Jude and I spent a week or so in Christchurch returning for the estate agm held in Chris and Marilyn's new house. It was great to catch up with many MFESI members and the weather and food were excellent! Tim and Jude heard a kiwi at the weekend and Chris and Marilyn saw four Kaka over their place. Tomtit are singing well and there are plenty of kereru around. Jude and I have continued plant hunting and have found more Kauri and Kawaka which is exciting.
There have been a number of butterflies around with the hot weather and we have seen Red and Yellow Admiral, Monarch, Cabbage White, Little Blue and Common Copper. I also thought that I saw an Enys but was unable to confirm that. We haven't had the courage to begin trying to identify the moths yet!!
On the bad news front, wasps continue to be a problem and I have been unable to find the nest that must be somewhere nearby. Also there has been a re-invasion of possums and we have caught ten in the past month. Bruno has also caught several. This is a bit surprising as we had seen very few possums over the summer.
Today we went to the farmers market in Coroglen and then a beach walk at Hot Water Beach. The market has a really friendly, community atmosphere and a great range of locally grown fruit, veges and meats. If you are here at the weekend it is a very enjoyable way to spend a Sunday morning.
The weather has been fantastic and the clear still nights have been perfect for star gazing. However it is getting cooler at night and the valley down to Whitianga is shrouded in mist each morning. What a joy to wake to that view...