Curious creatures get along just fine

photo by David Mudge
Some partnerships just seem right – cheese and crackers, McCaw and Carter, bats and wood roses. These last two get along perfectly because New Zealand’s short-tailed bat is about the only bat in the world to spend most of its life on the forest floor. The wood rose is a parasitic plant that lives on tree roots and relies on the bat to pollinate its flowers. These bats and wood roses are rarities and, like many of New Zealand’s unique species, are struggling to survive. The Departmen...
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January 2017 – Rata

Everyone loves the pohutukawa with its crimson canopy of flowers. But fewer people know its cousins, the rata trees and vines. Several vine species grow in the forest at Aongatete and it is a white rata that is flowering at present. Each flower, like that of the pohutukawa, is a tiny cup filled with nectar and fringed with stamens. Tui and honey bees love the nectar. Amongst our climbing rata species there are several with white flowers, one with spectacular pinkish...
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Pests of Aongatete Forest – video

These are the enemy of native biodiversity. This film was compiled in 2014 (no sound). We use game cameras to understand the behaviors of these species, in our mission to control them. Thanks to Barry and Pam Pethybridge for filming and editing these clips. https://youtu.be/OB5eUsfExKw The next video is a slideshow of still photographs compiled between January 2010 and June 2013. https://youtu.be/pN1y3KA4d3I
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December 2016 – Spiders

If you go into the forest at night and shine a torch around the tree trunks, you will see tiny pinpricks of light. It is the reflection of spider eyes. These spiders are not the ones that live in our houses – they are nearly all newcomers, accidentally introduced from other countries. The spiders in the forest all belong there, some of the 2500 odd species native to New Zealand. At night, spiders are out hunting. In the trees the orbweb spiders sit in the centre of their symmetrical web. O...
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November 2016 – Breakfast with the Birds

The overnight event at Aongatete Lodge was billed as ‘Breakfast with the Birds’. It could equally have been described as ‘Spying on the Spiders’ or ‘Walking with the Weta’! The rain had stopped and, fuelled by a sumptuous dinner, the 60 participants went out in the dark to walk in the forest. We were guided by spider expert Bryce McQuillan, an excellent choice as there were spiders everywhere, lurking in sheet webs, tangle webs, orbwebs and tunnels, or just hunting on the forest floor. And it...
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Website Status #1

Presently I am testing a "membership" system to allow multiple users onto the site, so they can upload photographs, documents, and so on, as well as create and edit posts and pages. After testing the new configuration I will organise a tutorial and workshop session for the future editors of the site, where we'll decide what the site needs to have before being "launched". Please add a comment if you're interested in becoming an editor. After the site has been launched I will have another...
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