Summer days part 1: Otari-Wilton and Titahi bay

The last few days have blessed us with lovely weather so we’ve been out and about. On friday afternoon we took a walk at Otari-Wilton Bush. There was abundant birdlife with dozens of tuis and kakariki flying overhead, plenty of kereru around and also a pair of k?rearea circling around a tree on the other side of a valley. We encouraged Alayna to walk as much as possible partially by having her count the steps we ascended, she did really well and also enjoyed crossing bridges, throwing leaves into streams for races and walking over rocks whenever possible. We ended up at the flax clearing which would have been better described as the daisy clearing for our visit, a carpet of flowers punctuating the dry grass.

Crossing the stream

Crossing the stream

Family in the daisies

Family in the daisies

Daisy Alayna

Daisy Alayna

Keryn made Alayna a daisy head dress and Alayna chased me around the clearing while I snapped away. We took a few family photos after clearing some (but not enough apparently) of the more intrusive grass stalks. We had some of the gingerbread that was left over from Christmas and watched a procession of birds fly overhead. There was a large pohutukawa covered in fading but still resplendent red blooms and the tree positively humbed with its audience of bees. There was time for some silliness and then we were off back towards the parked car.

Fading summer red

Fading summer red

The happy frog

The happy frog

It being such a nice evening we took the opportunity to purchase fish and chips in Porirua and then head over to Titahi Bay beach for a picnic dinner. We sat on some steps near the middle of the beach and watched the people wandering along the beach, the paddleboarders crossing the bay and the brave few playing in the water while the southerly breeze keep the temperature a little cool. We attracted a growing flock of seagulls and Alayna took great delight in chasing them away, at least until the numbers got so great that they just circled around behind her. It was a very pleasant evening.

Titahi Bay

Titahi Bay

The seagulls were persistent

The seagulls were persistent

Alayna chasing seagulls

Alayna chasing seagulls

Wildlife

Good recent weather has combined with some days off work, so I’ve been out a about a little bit. I went to the Otari-Wilton’s Bush and walked for three hours, having the tracks mostly too myself on a Tuesday morning. It was nice just walking in forest without people, and I got to see a few things which I might not otherwise have seen. Case in point was a morepork (ruru) quietly sitting in a tree fern adjacent to the path. I took far too many photos, here I will show but one:

IMG 7464Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A morepork at Otari-Wilton’s Bush

There were also lots of tui, plenty of wood pigeon and I also saw a bellbird feeding on a big pohutukawa tree. There were also lots of little streams and attractive waterfalls, though given my recent bad luck with cameras and waterfalls I wasn’t trying too hard to get to the best views.

IMG 7667Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A small waterfall

The 800 year old rimu was also quite impressive, many times larger that the surrounding trees.

IMG 7645Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The rimu

Last night I got an email saying that there would be a weta release at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, so I headed along to have a look. Over forty cook strait giant weta were being released after capture on Somes (Manu) Island overnight. There are a hundred or so marked giant weta on Somes Island, and during the search they only found one of these, so it does look like the island population is booming.

There was a crowd of fifty odd people gathered at the tui terrace for the release. The staff soon appeared on a box laden farm bike and were soon opening ice cream containers and showing the paired wetas within to the crowd. Once everyone had had a good look it was on to the release, the wetas picked up and set down under shrubs bordering the terrace. Mostly it was children touching the not so little invertebrates, one plucky youngster happy to have one crawl on his face so the Dominion Post photographer could get a good shot.

IMG 7713Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A female ready for release

IMG 7723Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A male hiding on flax

IMG 7729Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The same male, you can see the identity ring on the back leg

I still haven’t got anywhere with my replacement camera, the insurance people are still waiting for a quote apparently. I went to a Noel Leeming store on the way home from Karori and got a quote in about two minutes, so I think I’ll be chasing tomorrow morning.