Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Follow that kiwi

This is a ‘kiwi’ nature blog, sharing my observations with people young and old who are curious about the New Zealand natural environment.

These footprints are from a real kiwi on Stewart Island. 

My curiosity led me to follow the tracks and this is what I found.

At first I thought that the kiwi had been in a fight, then I saw lots of beak holes and realised that the kiwi (or kiwis) had probably been having a good feed of sandhoppers and other sand animals.

Have you noticed how the sand feels different under your feet depending on what part of the beach you are on? Some places you sink right in, others you just leave nice clear footprints.  Up high on the beach the sand might only be covered by water when there are storms or extreme high tides, so the sand is dry and sometimes crusty. At low tide the sand closest to the sea is soft and wet. Given how much of New Zealand is coastline, I’m surprised we don’t have lots of different descriptive names for sand, apart from quicksand and iron sand.

Wet sand is a good place to look for animal tracks, particularly birds. I’ve done a search and can’t find any New Zealand sources that identify birds by tracks. Let me know if you find one.

I did find a great guide to the tracks of pests http://www.gotchatraps.co.nz/html/guide_to_prints.html . It reminded me that next time I take photos of footprints, I should put something next to them that shows what size they are.