Wednesday, 13 February 2019

New Zealand Nature Hunt: list to download

Many Nature Hunt/Scavenger Hunts just don't match the New Zealand forest. So watching what the children found on the Bioblitz at Horoeka Reserve, inspired me to come up with a New Zealand Nature Hunt for kids.

This Nature Hunt would be perfect for Horoeka Scenic Reserve but would also be a good challenge for trips to Otari/Wilton's Bush, Porirua Scenic Reserve, Percy Scenic Reserve, Belmont Regional Park and many other locations in Greater Wellington and further afield. 

When we go on Nature Hunts in native forest all we take home are photos and memories, rather than taking or damaging living things. 

"In the Bush: explore and discover New Zealand's native forests" is a useful reference for identifying animals and plants in our native forests.

Treasures to be Found at Butterfly Creek

Butterfly Creek is one of the most popular and well known walks in Wellington, but despite that I still meet people who have never been. It's perfect for a weekend picnic with the kids or grandkids, or a quiet 'pick-me-up' walk mid-week.
Picnic area at Butterfly Creek - cool on a hot day
First thing you need to know - and tell your children to avoid disappointment - the creek is not full of butterflies! In fact, we rarely see any butterflies there. I've been told that the creek used to look like a butterfly from a particular viewpoint but haven't been able to confirm that. But we do see all sorts of other plant and animal treasures.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

'Birdstories' Uncovering the Secrets of New Zealand Birds

Birdstories is my new go-to book! When I was pondering which shelf to put it on - next to the field guides or among the nature prose, it occurred to me that since this book won’t be staying on the shelf for long, it might as well stay on my table, given the number of times I’ll be referring back to it. 
Birdstories: a history of birds of New Zealand by Geoff Norman, published by Potton & Burton

Rich in information, Birdstories, takes one group of birds at a time - there’s a chapter on kiwi, one on eagles and falcons, another on cuckoos and so on.  Each chapter discusses the history of the bird(s) in question - both in terms of ancestry but also human interaction. You'll find answers here on how it got its scientific name, whether it appears in whaktaukÄ«, in some cases what aided its extinction, in others how it's hanging on to survive.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Fantastic Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of New Zealand

Finally the field guide of reptiles and amphibians that we’ve all been waiting for! 

Reptiles and Amphibians of New Zealand: a field guide by Dylan van Winkle, Marleen Baling and Rod Hitchmough published by Auckland University Press

Followers of my blog will know that over the last five years I’ve been involved with several volunteer lizard projects. I’ve gone from only being able to tell the difference between a gecko and a skink to being able to identify particular skinks and geckos, such as a copper skink or a ngahere gecko. That hasn’t been an easy journey, but I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside some excellent herpetologists who’ve patiently explained the differences. My fellow volunteers and I have pored over some imperfect online guides and photos trying to spot the subtle differences between brown skinks and northern grass skinks, for example, subtle that is to a beginner's eye. So it was with huge excitement that I opened the field guide.