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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

Cabbage tree stands in water.

Sea-level rise around Aotearoa New Zealand is speeding up

Sea-level rise around Aotearoa New Zealand is speeding up, according to Stats NZ. That brings increased risks of flooding and erosion, drainage problems, groundwater levels increase, and possible intrusion of salt water into the underground aquifers. According to Coastal sea-level rise | Stats NZ: Wellington’s mean sea-levels rose by 2.84 (±0.18) mm per year between 1961 and 2020. This is…

An orange and red insect that looks almost transparent.

The bud-galling wasp may be on its way here

Apparently Waikawa Beach lies at the southern end of the range of the Sydney golden wattle — an acacia that can take over dunes, crowding out other plants, leads to sand blowouts and releases allergens that affect hayfever sufferers. It also creates substantial fire risks. That’s why Horizons Regional Council has applied to import and release a bud-galling wasp to…

Little Black Shag and Pied Shag at the river.

Little Black Shag and Pied Shag 

In August 2022 Marion Cherry posted a photo on Facebook that showed clearly the size difference between a Little black shag | Kawau tūī and a Pied shag | Kāruhiruhi. The Little Black Shag’s size is: ‘Length: 61 cm; Weight: 800 grams’, while the Pied Shag comes in at: ‘Length: 65 - 85 cm; Weight: 1.3 - 2.1 kg’. Little…

Bittern with neck extended.

Boom: Beware Bitterns breeding!

A local resident told me recently she’d spotted a Bittern on one Strathnaver wetland, one of 3 areas in Strathnaver where the very rare Bitterns are known to breed locally. Bittern breeding season falls between August and May. They lay between 3 and 6 eggs sometime between August and December. The eggs hatch after about 25 days and then fledging…

Kereru on a flax spear.

Kererū at the beach

First time ever I’ve seen a Kererū at Waikawa Beach. They do live in Manakau 4 Km away (as the bird flies) but have never been down here before as far as I know. Length: 50 cm; Weight: 630 g

Map, naming the lakes on Reay Mackay Grove.

Lake Puna-O-Te-Ora and its birds

Most people know there are two small lakes at the corner of Strathnaver Drive and Reay Mackay Grove. The lakes are a haven for birdlife (and anyone who wants a quiet few moments for reflection) and attract a rich diversity of frogs, insects and many birds, including some that regularly take refuge from a busy beach. Birds regularly include white-faced…

Book cover: Life in the Shallows The wetlands of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Life in the Shallows book

I recently became aware of a new publication — Life in the Shallows The wetlands of Aotearoa New Zealand by Karen Denyer and Monica Peters: Featuring wetlands to visit all around the country, descriptions of the rich bird, insect and plant life that can be found there, and some of the innovative ways we can protect and restore them, Life…

Screenshot of the septic tank process.

How a Septic System Works

Like most or all properties at Waikawa Beach we have a septic tank. Waste water disappears into it and that’s that (except for getting it regularly serviced, and triggering the pump manually if it gets stuck). Hmmm, a bunch of black domes, and a white box with a red light on it… But what’s actually going on down there? The…

Cover of the report.

2015 report on water quality in the Waikawa Stream

In 2015 Horizons Regional Council produced a report on water quality in the Waikawa Stream: “Waikawa Stream and Manakau Stream Faecal Source Tracking Report”, August 2015, Horizons Report 2015/EXT/1460, authored by Michael Patterson, Research Associate and Logan Brown, Senior Scientist. The data was gathered during the period December 2014 to April 2015 but since then a lot of work such…