August 2013

Lake Rotoiti Fungus Walk:

Late June we met up with Grace & Brian at the lake to wander a couple of the tracks seeking what fungus we could find. One never knows what to expect which makes walking through the bush in the winter months interesting. It had been a dry winter but we did come across a number of bracket fungus (Trametes sp.), mostly of the orange type and then we spotted clusters of bird nest fungus. I think they are called Crucibulum vulgare but they are more interesting than that name. At first the cup is covered with a cap but then that falls off to reveal what look like eggs but upon a closer look, they turn out to be sort of like little pancakes which are splashed out with raindrops or they can be ejected by the plant itself.  The good old faithful Violet Tobacco Pouch or Thaxterogaster sp. always stands out with its bright purple colour, growing under beech. The ones that I like though are the traditional type and to look underneath at the radiating gills. Sometimes the structure and colouring are quite exquisite and all hidden from view as one just walks by.

Maitai scrub fire

Maitai Scrub Fire

A Walk Towards Dun:

Karla and I had a walk up towards Mt Dun to check on the new cycle trail and the new bridge across the creek. Well, arriving at the dam, we found that the gate was locked. Had the caretaker slept in or was just being contrary? so we took the track above the creek that took an extra ten minutes or so. The gate was open when we came back. We had thought of taking our bikes but decided not to and probably it was just as well as heading up this track once over the bridge it was more than rather uphill. No doubt it is better to come down this way via The Brook. The old walking track was pretty rough in places but just why do mountain bikers rate so much higher than walkers? New track signs and pretty flash too and the travel times were noted but what are they? Walking times or biking times? Who knows. Trudging uphill and getting into the mineral belt, we could smell burnt plant material. Soon we came to quite a large patch of burnt scrub. Some of the burnt clumps of grass had new shoots rising so the fire must have been awhile ago. But it was strange that we could smell the burnt material. We turned around and headed back home soon after.

Home brew

Will’s Drop

Home Brewing:

I’m now ‘into’ a little home brewing which when translated means that I’m an official taster of a family member’s home brewing of beer. It has become another chore but what the heck! Recent labels have been: Wobbly Will’s – The Gully Man’s Drop; Rickerby’s Guzzle – An IPA to Swig & Swill; and Will’s Grog – An IPA to imbibe post a gully workout. The stuff almost makes me want to do something up the gully so that when I return I can test another sample. I have been surprised by the quality I must say.

Another Visit to the West Coast:

Karla and I spent a few days in Greymouth and Westport seeing if we could find more information on family members of long ago. It rained most of the time and at first I wasn’t sure what to do. Water falling from the sky – we are not used to this in Richmond. It didn’t matter much though as we spent most of the time in the library and a local museum digging out records and files. It is unfortunate that a lot of the old records were not stored properly so have been lost. Never mind, we did find a newspaper item that mentioned my grandfather being granted a section of land in Runanga, which is just a little North of Greymouth. We also found a number of documents that mentioned several cousins too. Unfortunately no early day school records of my father’s but we were able to look inside the old miner’s hall in Runanga which is now to be restored as it is a classified historical building. As we passed the Punakaiki pancake rocks, and even though it was raining, we had a quick walk around. Onwards North and then we came to Charleston. A quick look at the small harbour and the smaller still narrow entrance. We watch the waves roll in and couldn’t help but admire the early settlers who came through the narrow passage into the relative calm of the small harbour. It must have been a nightmare especially to the women and children. Maybe they just went below, held their breath and prayed.

We reached Westport and checked out their library but we didn’t find anything concerning our family. It was worth a try.


Kowhai Flowers

Delaware Bay Walk:

Our walking group had arranged permission for access to walk along this beach just the northern side of Pepin Island late August. It was almost 150 years ago (September 4th 1863) when the brig Delaware set sail from Nelson but was struck by bad weather and was wrecked on rocks in this bay that now bears its name. A party of five local Maori saw the ship in trouble and went out to help. Huria Matenga, her husband Hemi, brother-in-law Eraia, and Ropata all assisted the crew ashore in rough seas while Kerei lit a fire and took care of the crew as they arrived on shore. Accounts differ but it certainly seems that the four first mentioned put their lives at considerable risk while assisting the crew via a cable strung from the ship to a boulder on the shore. All the crew were saved except for the first mate. The sandy bay sweeps around to the outlet from a estuary behind towards Pepin Island. At the headland of this estuary is a Maori burial ground and here lies Huria and her family. We walked along the sandy beach, around the headland and back on the estuary side. The tide was flowing out and on a dead tree, several shags were resting. As we approached you could even smell that fishy bird poop smell. Some were sitting on nests but no young heads popped up. So maybe they were sitting on eggs. Later we spotted several Banded Dotterel and at least one was sitting on eggs. After lunch on the beach we headed home but stopped and walked around Bishop’s Peninsular, as the tide was now well out. A number of Kowhai were in flower so Spring is on the way.

Dew Lake Maitai

Dew Lakes: One of the Lakes

Dew Lakes Called:

Shirl had a walk with friends up the Aniseed and was surprised at the flood damage that had occurred on the way in to the hut. Karla and I joined our walking group for the climb up to Dew Lakes. Once again it was to the Maitai Dam and that gate was still closed but was open when we came back! Instead of turning right we veered to the left and headed up along a forestry road until we came to the turn off for the track towards the Rush Pool and the Argillite quarry. Here we had morning tea. The track is quite rocky in places especially over the mineral belt sections. A steady climb through patches of native beech forest and breaking out now and then to walk through the stunted growth that grew on the mineral belt. These sections gave good views of the Doubles, the Mangatapu Saddle, Little Twin, Wooded Peak and Dun Mountain. The last section of the track was a bit slushy in places but it didn’t last long before we came to the first of the Dew Lakes. There may be up to five of these small lakes or tarns which have been formed in a sort of saddle or small moor. Swampy around them but one can wind a way through to the Pelorus side with a view down to the Sounds far  below.

Dew Lakes

Mountain Fern

A feature is the stunted native mountain cedar trees that are growing around the lakes and some of these in turn feature the fairly rare fern Hymenophyllum malingii. This mountain fern is quite distinctive, looks as if it is dead except for a slight orange colour near the tip of the fern frond and is almost entirely found growing on dead cedar trees. We arrived in time for lunch and I think it took about two and a half hour walk to get here. A bit less time going back though.

Bird Calls and Such:

The female blackbird is busy nest building in a low Lophomyrtus by our back fence which I think is not a good idea with all the cats around. Still, I guess the cats will clean out the young regardless before they get to the flight stage. Shirl is still putting out sugared water and the Silvereyes crowd around for their daily intake. The odd Tui calls but a Bellbird chortles in the Kowhai trees regularly so at least it sings for its all day supper. The Chaffinches don’t partake of a drink but they do fossick for any crumbs that the House Sparrows flick about.

A friend nearby set her microwave timer and then went outside to attend to some washing but she hardly got outside and she heard the timer beep. She thought that was quick so went back inside but found the microwave still going on with time on the clock. Back outside and she heard the beeping again but this time she became aware that it was a Tui in a nearby tree that was imitating the microwave beep. Our friend was later invaded by mice so she set some traps. At first the mice caught were normal size then as time went on they got smaller and smaller. She started to feel guilty as she felt she was the cause of a massacre by wiping out a whole family. Oh well, such is nature. The Tui lives but the mice don’t.

July rainfall at our place was 33½ mm with our average for this month being 78mm.
For August our average is 137mm but we received only 78mm instead.

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