|Picnic area at Butterfly Creek - cool on a hot day|
|Native clematis vine (spring)|
|Looking back towards Eastbourne|
|Little moa orchids on beech trunk|
|Note the spreading roots that hold the orchid on the tree|
and the small pinkish flowers below (spring)
If you take the Mackenzie or Muritai Tracks, once over the ridge you'll come across some magnificent trees laden with epiphytes. Epiphytes are plants that live on trees, like the little moa orchid above, although most grow to be much larger.
|Looking into the epiphyte laden forest|
Many epiphytes are really big, trees living on trees, others look like clumps or nests. Take a break here from the little things, and look up into the trees. How many different kinds of epiphytes can you see?
|Epiphytes in this picture include clumps or 'nests', white flowering winika orchids, and hanging ferns|
The Epiphyte Network have an online downloadable basic guide to epiphytes along with a survey that you can take part in. If you have older kids with you take some binoculars and have a go at this.
The plants that form nests are sometimes found on the ground too.
|Here's a tank lily, kahakaha, growing on the ground (summer)|
|Called bush flax (although it's not a real flax) or kakaha,|
just coming into flower (summer)
Expect to hear and see birds, although they may not stay long enough for children to identify them. Birds that you may see or hear include: grey warbler/riro riro, tūī, bellbird/korimako, kererū, kākāriki, shining cuckoo/pīpīwharauroa, long-tailed cuckoo/koekoeā, whitehead/pōpokatea, silvereye/tauhou, fantail/pīwakawaka.
To download a simple Nature Hunt, see Nature Hunt List.
For young children, my book "In the Bush" includes information on epiphytes, puriri moths, greenhood orchids and lots more.