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Large brown bird with long tail and dark head with red wattles.

08 He aha tērā? Ring-necked Pheasant

This large bird has a special squawk that alerts you when an earthquake is coming. Or it startles as you go by and throws itself into the air with a clatter of wings then clumsily flaps a short distance. Or it strolls along the road in front of you. He aha tērā? What is that? Photo by Jan Jordan. Used…

White lattice structure on grass.

07 He aha tērā? What is that?

You see this delicate white lattice on the grass, often after warmer and wetter weather. He aha tērā? What is that? Photo by Miraz Jordan. Used with permission. Answer: it’s a tūtae kēhua or basket fungus: Not everything in nature lends itself easily to describing and understanding. What could tangata whenua make of the grotesque and smelly structure that seems…

Long-legged black and white bird wading in shallow water.

06 He aha tērā? Pied Stilt

You see this distinctive long-legged black and white bird with its fine black bill down at the beach or on flooded paddocks. There is usually a group of them, and they often hang out with the Oystercatchers. He aha tērā? What is that? Photo by Miraz Jordan. Used with permission. Answer: it’s a poaka, pied stilt: Identification: Length: 35 cm;…

Brown stripy bird beside scrubby brown grass.

05 He aha tērā? Bittern

You’ll be very lucky to ever see this large long-legged bird as it prefers to hide. You may see it in grass near water, or ‘sloping’ across the road. If you listen closely on a still night you may hear its faint booming call. It’s been spotted or heard a few times around Waikawa Beach and has 3 breeding areas…

Large brown bird sitting on a fence, with keen eyes.

04 He aha tērā? Hawk

You see this large bird soaring above the paddocks, perhaps ‘squeaking’ sometimes. Or maybe it flies up in front of your car, from a dead rabbit on the road. He aha tērā? What is that? Photo by Jan Jordan. Used with permission. Answer: it’s a kāhu, swamp harrier: Identification: Length: 50 - 60 cm; Weight: 650 g (male), 850 g…

Medium size black birds with long orange beaks in shallow water.

03 He aha tērā? Variable Oystercatcher

You’re on the beach, perhaps just south of the river and see these birds, probably in pairs, maybe running around on the sand. He aha tērā? What is that? Photo by Miraz Jordan. Used with permission. Answer: it’s a variable oystercatcher, tōrea pango: Identification: Length: 48 cm; Weight: 720 g Similar species: South Island pied oystercatcher, Chatham Island oystercatcher A…

Small white bird with dark ring on the back of the neck.

02 He aha tērā? Barbary Dove

You hear some cooing and see these birds nearby, maybe in a tree, on flax spears, or on the ground. He aha tērā? What is that? Photo by Sophie Campbell. Used with permission. Answer: it’s a Barbary dove: Identification: Length: 28 cm; Weight: 140 g Similar species: Spotted dove The Barbary dove is the domesticated form of the African collared…

Large grey bird with white face walks along a narrow branch.

01 He aha tērā? White-Faced Heron

You step outside one day to see a bird like this on your roof. He aha tērā? What is that? Answer: it’s a White-Faced Heron or Matuku Moana — Identification: Length: 67 cm; Weight: 550 g Similar species: Reef heron, Pacific heron A medium-sized blue-grey heron with white face, long dark grey bill, and pale yellow legs. In flight the…

Sand dune life cycle.

The sand dune life cycle

Rob Cross is biodiversity manager at Kāpiti Coast District Council. In this 10 minute video he talks about the natural highlights of Kāpiti’s sand dunes, reminding us what an important job they do creating homes for plants and wildlife and helping protect our coastline. We could reasonably expect our dunes at Waikawa Beach to be the same. Also check out…