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Map showing Waikawa Beach has Class 2 dark sky.

Our Class 2 Dark Sky

Thanks to the global Light pollution map I now know the sky at Waikawa Beach is almost as dark as it can get, at Class 2. On a clear night we can see the Clouds of Magellan with the naked eye. Wellington, OTOH, comes in at Class 6: bad. Our dark sky is a taonga we need to protect assiduously.

Small bird with dark back and white lower half on the beach.

Beach newcomer: a Ruddy Turnstone

The other morning on the beach by Waiorongomai Stream I spotted a group of Kuaka Godwit doing their thing then realised one bird looked quite different. I believe this is a Ruddy turnstone — I haven’t spotted them around here before. Identification Length: 21 - 24 cm; Weight: 84 - 190 g; Similar species: Shore plover | Tuturuatu A medium-sized…

Very small baby bird sitting on beach.

Take care for the Pied Stilt chicks

These baby birds are so hard to see they’re at huge risk of being trampled, run over or grabbed by a dog. Back in early November 2022 I almost stepped on a Poaka Pied Stilt nest not far from the blue pole that marks where the North Track off Reay Mackay Grove exits onto the beach. Luckily I saw it…

Shining Bronze Cuckoo. Photo by Laurie Boyle.

Pīpīwharauroa, Shining cuckoo heard at Waikawa Beach, November 2022

I’ve never yet seen a Pīpīwharauroa, Shining cuckoo but have recently heard one near the lakes in Strathnaver. I’m keeping my eyes peeled. These birds have the most annoying call. Visit the link above and listen to the sound files. They do a sort of ‘pee pee pee pee pee pee pee pee pee wheeeew’. Voice: the main call is…

Screenshot of the petition text.

2021 Petition on vehicle and horse access to Waikawa Beach

First published 30 November 2021: Today the WBRA received a couple of emails from Arthur Nelson, Property and Parks Manager • Tumu Rawa, Papa Rēhia, Horowhenua District Council about a petition they have received on the topic of access for vehicles and horses to the beach at Waikawa: We have a 160 signature petition from Waikawa Beach Residents asking Council…

E. Coli results summary for 2021-22 as a donut.

E. Coli monitoring

Every summer from 1 November to 30 April Horizons Regional Council monitors the water at the Waikawa Beach footbridge for E. Coli, and just offshore for Enterococci. They also keep an eye out for potentially toxic algae (cyanobacteria). While the water by the footbridge is suitable for swimming only 46% of the time (a historical average), we don't seem to…

Screenshot of the article.

Vehicle traffic erodes a beach

One line in a recent Ōtaki Mail article caught my eye — it’s the emphasised part below: The Otaki Community Board … accepted a petition signed by 35 people asking Greater Wellington Council to expedite construction of a seaward extension bank where Marine Parade ends. … The seaward extension bank was around 100 metres, running from where the tarmac ends…

A fence that used to mark the border of a property hangs uselessly from the eroded dunes.

Normal-elevated risk of a cyclone in 2022-23 season

It was February 2018 when ex-Tropical Cyclone Gita hit Waikawa Beach and caused massive erosion. For the coming season, the risk for an ex-tropical cyclone affecting New Zealand is considered near normal to elevated. A 2-metre drop where vehicles used to drive onto the beach. Each year we could potentially get another storm like that. This is the kind of…

Two long-beaked wading birds in the beach shallows.

The Kuaka return

Excited to see on my beach walk this morning that the first Kuaka (Godwits) have returned from their sojourn in the Arctic.

Slug next to my hand - it’s much longer than my little finger.

Limax maximus slug

When I moved a plank by the quail run one day I found this huge (~9cm) slug. It’s apparently a Limax maximus, or tiger slug: Limax maximus is the largest slug introduced to New Zealand from Europe. … one of the largest kinds of keeled air-breathing land slug in the world