Tuesday 30 May 2023

Macabre Fungi & this blog is moving

Read more about this macabre fungus over at my new blog

Since 2014 I've been blogging here about things I see in nature out and about in New Zealand /Aotearoa. I've blogged about my books for children and tips for engaging children with nature. I hope you've enjoyed the journey so far.

It's time to move on to a more up-to-date platform, it's become near impossible to upload photos or edit my blogs on this platform. 

So my Explore and Discover Nature Blog has now moved to my website and been renamed Discover Nature Blog. I've imported all the blog posts from here into the new blog. And I've just written a new blogpost for you over there on Macabre Fungi.

New Blog Address https://www.gilliancandler.co.nz/discovernatureblog

To make it easy to keep up-to-date you can subscribe to my newsletter at gilliancandler.substack.com, through this I'll alert you to new blogposts, some of my latest interesting nature observations, book news and events.  I promise you won't be bombarded with newsletters!

Wednesday 7 September 2022

What to look for in Spring - flowers


Puawhananga Clematis Paniculata

One of the exciting signs of spring in the New Zealand bush are the star-like flowers of the clematis vine Clematis paniculata or puawhananga. According to one reference I found, Māori legend says pua wānanga or puawhananga is the child of two stars - of autumn and summer - so heralding the spring. Another reference says the name means ‘the flower of the skies’. Such beautiful images for a beautiful flower.

If you are in the bush you might be lucky enough to spot a galaxy of these large but delicate flowers. They're usually high in the canopy but on the bush edges or on low regenerating bush they can sometimes be at eye height like the ones in my photos.

A galaxy of flowers

The native Clematis paniculata is easy to tell apart from the invasive non-native Clematis vitalba or old man’s beard as it has a different seasonal pattern. Old man’s beard flowers in summer not spring. By summer our native vines are sporting fluffy seed heads. Paniculata is also evergreen, whereas old man’s beard is deciduous.

Related Posts:

Male and female flowers of clematis https://explorediscovernature.blogspot.com/2017/09/out-and-about-in-spring-clematis-and.html




Tuesday 14 June 2022

A Visit from Ruru: owl inspiration

Ruru in my garden

A few weeks ago I heard a commotion in the garden - the blackbirds were complaining, it sounded like they were giving another bird a good telling off. I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. That's when I saw a ruru sitting on a branch having its daytime nap. The owl didn't seem at all bothered by the blackbirds and eventually they gave up and moved into another part of the garden. 

I've heard ruru or morepork at night - their distinctive call echoes in the gully nearby - but I never imagined they might be hunting in our garden. These owls hunt wētā, moths, cicadas, small birds such as silver eyes, rats and mice. They need large trees with holes or cavities for their nests. We have some large trees but I don't know if any would be large enough for them to nest in.

There's something about their large eyes and piercing stare that is slightly unnerving, even when they are sleepy like this one. Meeting this ruru inspired me to write a little haiku.

Tuesday 23 November 2021

Forest Haiku


Two of my haiku were published in a fine line Spring 2021, the magazine of the New Zealand Poetry Society. 

About haiku 
Maybe you learned to write haiku at school and were told haiku were poems of three lines with 5 -7 -5 syllables. Today haiku can be 2 or 3 lines and are almost always less than 17 syllables. Haiku use strong images to convey the essence of a moment in nature.

Notes: Krummholz is a word that English language has borrowed from German to mean a tree that is stunted, bent or twisted. It wasn't that easy finding photos that were an exact match, as these haiku were written about moments of seeing that weren't necessarily captured by a camera.

Find out more about writing haiku

This is written as a guide for teachers, but is useful for anyone considering writing haiku, especially the definition and explanation of haiku on page 3: