Readers’ wildlife photos

October 10, 2023 • 8:15 am

We return to our regularly scheduled feature after an interruption due to war (there may be more interruptions in the future, but keep sending in your photos).

Today’s batch comes from reader Keith Cook from New Zealand. His captions are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Moon and cloud fingers. Not the best maybe a little too grainy and certainly not the true colour, but this is how the camera saw it. I like how the clouds seems to be holding the moon. The distant red lights you can see in the middle are from the 05 end of the runaways at Auckland airport, which protrude out into the Manukau Harbour.

Siloutte sunrise. Autumn shot as winter approaches and is now rising to the left of frame. At the height of summer it would be to the far right of the Phoenix Palm (Phoenix canariensis) before the hill.

Close up of Ponga dust, a description from the Department of Conservation:: “Would the arms (the frond stalks) of the tree fern beat you in an arm wrestle? If so, it’s most likely a mamaku (also known as a black tree fern, Sphaeropteris medullaris).

. . . second shot, Ponga Dust. What I’m trying to show in this shot is the dusty ‘spores’ of a ponga frond. Ponga (Cyathea medullaris) I think this is correct, after laying them down and picking them up, all this ‘powder’ falls off. I want to know what this stuff is called I’ve tried on line with no luck. I\we have these ferns all over the property so when the wind is up this stuff gets blown around, the car gets covered in it. It must be hell for those sensitive to sinus clogging but I’ve never noticed it in myself. The leaf lying on top in this shot is from our resident Kauri (Agathis australis).

Kererū Wood Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae). This to me is a “how do you do?” shot. Here it’s presumably eating seeds in one of a few cabbage trees we have (Cordyline australis) I have noticed over the years that these seeds are not their favourite; nikau palm (Rhopalostylis sapida) seeds seem preferable but it could be just a cycle of what seeds are available for snacking on. These birds are  daily visitors to our guava tree at the moment, and they look in good shape nevertheless. We have had some crazy wet and wild weather in 2023, flooding, high winds, land slips, road closures, so it’s good that they seem in good health.

Forest Gecko (Mokopirirakau granulatus). Sorry to have to show this creature in a bucket, but it was either that or let it run its luck of being squashed. I released it not far from where I “saved” it. This is only the third one I have seen in four decades of living here and it is exciting when I spot one.

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia spp.). This is very common in gardens This one is at the top of the hill behind our house and it has a panoramic view of the harbour. I’m just waiting for this one to take off as I’m  using it as a divider between properties.

Papamoa Beach. The last shot is a post-covid-19 lockdown shot of Papamoa Beach, Bay of Plenty on the east coast. I thought it was a nice winter scene with people exercising and relaxing.

6 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Nice! I don’t know about Ponga ferns, but as a generalization, fern fronds will have spore-producing structures under the fronds. These are a part of their “alternation of generations” life cycle, where spores germinate to form a haploid gametophyte plant generation. These small, often innocuous plants produce eggs and sperm, and those are used to sexually reproduce the diploid sporophyte generation. The sporophyte is the large fern plant that you see.

  2. Nice variety. Interesting flora on the beach. On America’s west coast, I’m used to seeing bright green succulent type flora around the beaches; Papamoa beach looks like desert flora…perhaps it is.

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