Volunteer work takes me for a walk along the coast several mornings a month in summer. Walking the same path, day after day, isn't dull or a chore.
|The path along the coast, white-faced heron ahead|
Each day, I see something different, depending perhaps on the weather or the tide, or I see something differently. Sometimes there are big changes: a storm leaves soft-bodied jelly fish and bright orange sponges stranded on the beach and covers the path with driftwood.
|After the storm - jellyfish on the beach|
|Shore bindweed - NZ native|
|Muehlenbeckia complexa, scrambling pohuehue|
This summer, the weeds are to blame for my changing perception. Weed control - spraying - takes place a few times a year. I wanted to know which were the weeds, those pesky smotherers, and which were the native plants to be encouraged.
I decided to use Nature Watch NZ to photograph and record plants as I noticed them. With the help of botanists around New Zealand I was able to identify what I was seeing - finding a name to distinguish one from another.
|Some of my Nature Watch entries|
There are only a few of these native plants along the pathway:
|Coastal cutty grass|
|Arnim's comments on Nature Watch NZ about Knobby clubrush|
|New Zealand flax|
Common bushes include: Muehlenbeckia complexa or scrambling pohuehue (see above photo), Ozothamnus leptophyllus or tauhinu, and Coprosma propinqua or miki
There are a few trees, karaka, taupata, kawakawa, kaikomako, mahoe. I won't show them all here, just kaikomako, as that's perhaps the least well known of them.
|Miki (with a copper butterfly)|
And some interesting vine-like plants: New Zealand spinach, clematis, shore bindweed (photo above).
|New Zealand spinach|
|Clematis forsterii - flowering in November|
Seeing Plants with New Eyes: https://explorediscovernature.blogspot.co.nz/2015/05/seeing-plants-with-new-eyes-learning.html
Weeds or Wild Flowers - what do you see? https://explorediscovernature.blogspot.co.nz/2016/10/weeds-or-wild-flowers-what-do-we-see.html
Birds of the Coast: https://explorediscovernature.blogspot.co.nz/2017/03/birds-at-beach-vulnerable-and-at-risk.html
The volunteer project: https://explorediscovernature.blogspot.co.nz/2016/04/the-pitfalls-of-monitoring-skinks-our.html
Nature Watch NZ
Anyone can join Nature Watch naturewatch.org.nz and contribute sightings of plants, animals, fungi etc. It is a good example of Citizen Science, where people from all walks of life contribute to scientific knowledge through observations.