Readers’ wildlife photos

February 17, 2019 • 7:30 am

We have some photos from New Zealand sent by reader Keith Cook, whose comments and IDs are indented.

These attachments are a collection of pics from around my home and the local beach. I include some landscapes a la Stephen Bernard, seeing and raising his with a South Pacific sunrise or two… and a moon rise to finish it off. I like how the praying mantis, kereru, poaka, seem to be checking me out and the honey bee’s world of colour.

For animals, the common name is given first,  followed by the Maori name.

Landscapes, Torea and early morning Nikau.

Pied Stilt/Poaka (Himantopus himantopus):

Asiatic Honey Bee/Pi (Apis cerana probably). While New Zealand already had native species of bees, they were not suitable for producing honey, as their role was as pollinators.

NZ Praying mantis/Ro (a general maori name):

South Island Pied Oystercatcher/Torea (Haematopus ostralegus):

New Zealand pigeon/Kereru (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae):

Giant Centipede/Hura (Cormocephalus rubriceps). I think this little creature got a little stressed before i returned it to the bush; it was interrupted while clearing scrub.

Leopard Slug/ngata reparo (Limas Maximus):

Northern Rata Tree (Metrosideros robusta).

The Rata tree unfortunately succumbed to a violent storm which knocked over its support as they are usually epiphytes (or plant perched on a host tree). It was a sad day. It was close to our home and it probably could not have stayed there if it had not been taken out by the storm. I was trying to think of ways to relocate it and where. I see now we may have the possibility of a few more Rata establishing themselves, they can be and are valuable source of food for the locals, a future resource.

Nikau palm (Rhopalostylis sapida).

This photo is a closeup of the same Nikau palm the Kereru is feeding on: a pair of Kereru, probably generational offspring that come duringspring/summer on their feeding runs (we have lived here for decades). The nikau seeds go shades of red when ripe.

The fronds are pushed aside at the base by a pod containing the seeds which you see here fully developed but not ripe. They are rather delicate and flower when they first burst out. The frond eventually severs its connection to the trunk as all this pod action happens. They are long, usually 2 to 3 meters plus in length and heavy at the base. They are no problem. . . until they start sailing down on you, and THUMP!


17 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Great pics Keith. I don’t understand this note of yours:

    “Giant Centipede […] this little creature got a little stressed before i returned it to the bush; it was interrupted while clearing scrub”

    Why would it clear scrub & was it using a little rake? 🙂
    “Clearing” must mean something else in Kiwiland mebbe.

        1. Although Mr./Ms. Centipede would have plenty of little arms/legs for scrub clearing, with or without little rakes. Trump would be impressed by the clearing😬

    1. Had to laugh and Mark is correct… although i feel very conflicted when carrying a scorched earth policy on small creatures and their livelihoods. I try to find ways to make up for it as in, create food sources (piles of rotting wood) and protection, things to hide under.

  2. Beautiful photos! And I really like the Maori names.
    The “uprooted” rata tree reminded me of a nice albicia tree that used to grow in front of my home. One awful morning, workmen came to replace the heating pipes… and it turned out that the poor tree was growing right over the pipes, so it had no chance. I hoped that it was capable of vegetative reproduction, tried to root a branch, to no avail. Then I bought a young one and planted it. It is nice, but I don’t know whether it will blossom, because it has not so far.
    Moral: When you plant trees in an urban environment, first check where the pipes and cables are!

    1. This particular Rata was right outside next to a deck and it was a thing to behold. I still feel it’s loss. Good luck, I have a Kowhai tree that has not flowered since bedding it in (many years now) i hope it does, my dad is buried underneath it! Yep my dad… his ashes that is.

  3. We sometimes get handsome Leopard Slugs on the inside of the glass panels of our outer kitchen door. No idea what attracts them. And how they get in through the gap amazes me (though as molluscs, I guess they’re distantly related to octopii who are well-known for such tricks).

    I relocate them to the garden.


  4. SO cool to see some NZ pics here! Thanks Keith.

    I love Kereru. I’ve got a cousin who loves them so much he named one of his daughters Kereru! (He’s Maori.)

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