2015: A New Year (Again?)

2015: A New Year (Again?)
We started the new year off with a BBQ tea out at Rabbit Island with friends Val and Geoff but on the way we checked the Nelson end trapline. Well, what the heck – also a chance to show off the trapline. It was another hot day and all the BBQ spots were taken but we were able to share one with another family so that was good. On Christmas Day we also went out to Rabbit Island with friends for a BBQ brunch. This time we were able to offer to another family group, our warmed up BBQ.

Our walking group had its first walk of the year at Rabbit Island too. Shirl and I were the organisers of the walks for January and we chose this as an easy start to the new year. We lead the group along the beach and then turned in and walked along one of the trap lines back to the cars. Of interest was spotting some Oystercatcher chicks running on the sand just out from the trapline and no doubt, helped along by our efforts.

After the walk we had a BBQ too. Yeah, I do like Rabbit Island, okay?

Amelia and Reece with Mt Arthur mist.

Amelia and Reece with Mt Arthur mist.

A Mt Arthur Climb
I’ve climbed Mt Arthur several times and I like to do it at least once a year if I can. Last year it was freezing so turned back but this year? The Flora carpark is roughly 940 metres above sea level and the hut is 1310 m asl, while the summit of Mt Arthur is 1795m asl so we have a climb of about 855 metres to the summit. We took along grandchildren Amelia and Reece but Shirl and some others went down to the Flora Hut and back to the cars while we carried on. Amelia, Reece and I were last on to the top, but so what?

On the way we saw lots of different natives species of mountain daisies (Celmisia’s), plus some Ourisia, Epilobium, black butterflies, alpine grasshoppers (with red legs), native buttercups, even some patches of Vegetable Sheep (Raoulia haastia) and some Edelweiss. “Can we go down to that snow Granddad?” Why not? Well, actually, I stayed on the track but I still copped some snowballs though.

Morning tea at the Hackett Hut.

Morning tea at the Hackett Hut.

To The Browning/Hackett Huts
To the Hackett Hut; with the group sitting on firewood half rounds near the hut for morning tea, in the bright sunshine. The track has had a few washouts so on the modified track we proceeded to the Browning Hut for lunch. Cicadas were in full song or perhaps a better description, full rasping, and one had to keep ones mouth closed as they flew about in what seemed like drunken frenzy. It actually was a sexual frenzy. Well, after being underground for nigh on 17 to 20 years, what the heck. The noise, ah, the noise. The sounds of

Empty cicada nymphal husk.

Empty cicada nymphal husk.

summer for sure! I took a little video of the sounds with one ‘singing’ and put it on my Facebook page just for fun. Okay, it’s a bit rough but it has 80 plus views to date!

Sign posting.

Sign posting.

Beebys Knob
We figured it would be a hot day so we chose this walk as most of it was up through native bush. From the car park to the forestry road on the tops it was a climb of 680m. It was hot. Most of our group went further along the road to visit the hut while the rest climbed up to the trig, a further 142m. It was hot there too! But the view was great – from the rugged outcrops of the Raglan Range, the slopes of the St Arnaud Range, looking way up the Travers Valley with Mt Travers pointing skyward,

Rotoiti from Beebys Knob.

Rotoiti from Beebys Knob.

along the Mt Robert Range down to the resting Lake Rotoiti below. Swinging around to the West, was Mt Owen, along in the distance to Mt Arthur. To North East-ish was Gordons Knob, North Peak and Red Hill. Quite a vista!

Beech seedling at Beebys Knob.

Beech seedling at Beebys Knob.

The alpine flowers were not too many but noticeable were Everlasting daisies (Helichrysum anaphalioides), Harebells (Wahlenbergia) and some flowering Whipcord hebes. A number of celmisia and gentians were also in flower. It was noticeable in the forest the abundant beech

Chiloglottis cornuta Orchid.

Chiloglottis cornuta Orchid.

seedlings growing, like a green mat in many places, ample evidence of last year’s beech mast. Of interest was coming across a patch of flowering orchids, the two leafed Chiloglottis cornuta.

While Richard, grandkids Amelia, Reece and I went up Beebys, Shirl and her group met up at Rabbit Island (again?) walked along the beach, caught the ferry to Mapua, had lunch of fish & chips over there, then returned on the ferry. After the walk back to the cars, some even had a swim.

 
Will’s Gully Progress
Good progress has been made this month on the K-Slope and we have had help from Kevin Piper and Ben Kingsbury. Thanks to these guys, the rocky ridge has nearly been cleared of weeds plus the new track is shaping up well. Just in case of the fire risk, work using the chainsaw might have to stop for awhile.

Stinkhorn Fungus.

Stinkhorn Fungus.

While working along the fence line I saw a brown flash of movement and a weka ran towards me. It was closely followed by an irate Californian quail. The weka are quite aggressive in their hunt for food and are known to add quail chicks to the menu but this weka certainly got the message to ‘leave my chicks alone’.

Nearby I came across a Stinkhorn fungus (Aseroe rubra). I didn’t expect to see one ‘flowering’ during this hot spell but there it was and covered with blowflies. The blowflies are attracted by the foul smelling mucus, and greedily dabble and eat this mucus and then carry the spores to be seeded elsewhere. It has very bright scarlet tentacles which look quite attractive but the foul smell would put anyone off – except the blowflies!

Greenfinch.

Greenfinch.

At home we have been amused by a male greenfinch feeding on Blue Borage flower seed capsules. Shirl grows several Blue Borage to attract the bees to her vege garden but she didn’t expect to see a greenfinch!

A Falcon Pencil Drawing

Falcon pencil drawing by Fran Gould (copyright).

Falcon pencil drawing by Fran Gould (copyright).

We called in to a Sunday market at the show grounds one day just for a look around. I quite like looking at artists paintings, drawings and such, and although I don’t paint with a brush or pencil, I try to capture the places visited with my camera in a similar fashion so it’s good to browse to get ideas and different angles. Talking to one artist, Fran Gould, she asked if I had a photo of a native falcon. I did, and so I now have a pencil drawing from one of my photos! You can check out Fran’s website at www.fran-gould.co.nz

Rainfall for December was 152.5mm (average 166.28mm) and for the year 2014 it was 1045mm at our place. Last years figures were 83mm for December and 1316mm for the year so now our yearly average is 1391mm.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *