Thursday, 23 October 2014

Forest and Bird Walks in Wellington - from my journal

It's spring and heading into tramping season. Thanks to the longer days and warmer weather (and the fact that I'm between books) I've been able to go out with Forest and Bird on a lot of day walks. Here's a sample from my nature journal of what I've observed.

Puriri moth
Tramping out from seeing  the Giant Rata, a puriri moth was found by a fellow tramper on the pathway. He picked it up to move it to safety.  This is the first time I've seen a live puriri moth so I was pretty excited by this find. What a gorgeous mossy green and what big eyes it has!

Wellington tree weta
Another insect slap bang in the middle of the track, this time a Wellington Tree Weta - a female - that spike at her rear end is an ovipositor for laying eggs. We gently moved her to the side so she wouldn't get trodden on.

Native clematis was also festooned over the bush canopy but most obvious to walkers where it was flowering at head height on the low scrub, stumps of tree ferns and other vines. We've never seen so much of it before.
Single clematis bloom suspended between trees

Clematis mixed up with bush lawyer, hence the spiky leaves

Clematis growing over a tree fern stump

WEDNESDAY 15th - FIELD HUT (again)
Phlegmariurus varius, common name - fork fern, although it isn't a fern but from an ancient plant family. Look closely and you can see each strand forks into two and then into two again. This symmetry is part of its beauty.
Phlegmariurus varius

Alongside the pathway were Tutukiwi or Green hood orchids. If you don't know to look for them it's easy to walk on by. Once you know, you see them everywhere. When I looked this up to check its scientific name I discovered there are many different kinds of green hood orchids, but I'm pretty sure this is Pterostylis banksii.
Pterostylis banksii

Forest and Bird - Wellington Regional Tramping Group runs walks and tramps of varying difficult for its members. Unless they are described as a Nature Walk, they're primary focus isn't botanising or we'd never make it to our destinations! But it's enjoyable to learn something about nature and still have a good walk. Our observations are often made looking down at the track or pathway - we avoid tripping up and at the same time learn more about the natural world.

You can see more of my observations, and those of lots of other people, on iNaturalistNZ. Or join up and join in on Forest and Bird walks and see them for yourself.