Topic: Fauna - Beach One
This includes three separate overlooks. They are: The locked gate, above the reef (these two are located near the pipeline) and the Fledglings Overlook. A large bush area that I have called BUSH ONE (Waikiekie), is located on the hills to the rear of the pipeline. Bush One straddles both Beach One and Beach Two, while the pipeline divides Beach One from Beach Two. The name ‘Bush One’ was inspired by visits to Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland. On Tiri, the bush areas have been named ‘Bush One, Bush Two, etc.,’ for reference purposes.
Roughly the middle part of Beach One is composed of soil cliffs. This allows scrubby vegetation to colonise the cliffs here almost right down to the beach.
At Bush One, wondrous light lit up the areas of bush I intended to photograph. I should have gotten out of the car to take advantage of it straight away, but I didn’t. Instead, I listened to two bellbirds singing in the bush. However, I was particularly taken with a yellowhammer that was perched on a fencepost. It was singing the opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. (Beethoven credited the yellowhammer with having inspired this symphony, but nobody really believed him. Having heard the bird and the symphony both together at home, I do).
On the often squishy track down to Beach One, there were lots of flax bushes, hebes (believed to be Willow koromiko – Hebe stricta), toetoe and coastal cutty grass. At the point where the creek emptied onto the beach there was a resident community of beached logs. This was a permanent driftwood site, although some members, particularly the largest logs and the ones hard up to the land, were more permanent than others. Logs and other flotsam, either washed down the creek or washed up by the tide that had been deposited lower down in the high tide zone, tended to be more transitory. This is true of all of the driftwood sites on the Tongaporutu coastline.
Today, I also saw bits of plastic rubbish and a heavy duty yellow rope at this site. On the beach, some of the rocks that had been deposited there by past cliff collapses, had tiny shells embedded in them.
As I neared the Fledglings rock stacks, lots of black-backed gulls took to the air. They continually tried to ‘bomb’ me with poop. I could hear and see the frequent splats on the beach, some of which were quite close. The gulls were nesting on the largest Fledgling. This supports some scrubby vegetation as well as some ice plants.
On the reef, (PHO2008-522), there were lots of mussels, barnacles and limpets. In the pools a green lettuce type plant was growing. I also spotted a scurrying crab. As a matter of interest, this is the only major rock reef on the Tongaporutu coastline that is accessible at low tide.
At the locked gate, I photographed a bent puriri tree at the top of the hill in evening light. (At least I think it was a puriri).
On the road travelling along to the locked gate I noticed that the tea trees (Manuka – Leptospermum scorparium), were flowering and lots of karakas (Corynocarpus laevigatus), were laden with luscious orange berries.
CLIFF SEQUENCING. I had just passed the reef walking towards the Fledglings, when I spotted a sea-lion. We looked at each other for a few seconds as if verifying what we were seeing. As the sea-lion was fairly high up the beach, I approached cautiously as I needed to get past it to do the cliff sequencing. By me moving slowly, it allowed the sea-lion time to hobble back down towards the sea. As I only had my wide-angle lens on the camera, it will be a case of ‘spot the sea-lion’.
Near the Fledglings, I was once again harassed by black backed gulls. I headed towards an arch in the cliff for some respite from them when I came across a bloated, dead black Aberdeen Angus steer.
PHO2008-544 just gives an example of plants occupy whatever spaces they can.
8.2.2004 PHO2008-675, 1217-1218
I took a photo (PHO2008-1218), of the four karakas I had seen earlier from the road that bisects Bush One. In the evening light they looked great. The other photo is almost a repeat of PHO2008-502 that I took on the 5th January 2004. PHO2008-675 shows some native toetoes and other vegetation at the Fledglings Overlook.
SUPER-STORM EVENT. Super-Storm Three. With the road being impassable to traffic due to it having virtually melted under the onslaught of rain, I had to trudge down to Twin Creeks on foot. Walking along the road that passes through Bush One, water gushed down the hillside and through the culvert. Trees too close were either leaning like drunken fools or had kerlapsed into the rushing torrent.
PHO2008-695 was taken at the locked gate. It basically shows the same scene as PHO2008-1187 taken on the 4th January 2004, except that 1187 was taken with a different lens on the camera. The impact on the plants is obvious.
7.3.2004 PHO2008-703, 705, 711, 718
I thought that the track down the Pipeline to the beach would be rough to access due to the recent heavy rains we have had. For the most part I was pleasantly surprised, but at the bottom where the stream enters the upper beach, my, how things had changed! There was a huge log debris pile and the banks on either side of the stream were heavily gauged out. I had to scramble down a five foot debris bank, then through the bottomed out creek to reach the beach. (PHO2008-718).
After checking out Beach Two, I went along Beach One. To better see the scale of the recent cliff collapses, I went out onto the reef. Gargantuan mud/soil slides, plus vegetation slides decorated most of the remaining relatively undamaged cliff faces. PHO2008-705 shows the impact of slides on the vegetation and vice versa.
After this visual check, I then sat down on the sharpish small mussels and barnacles. Most of the reef was plastered in them. There was also some sea lettuce.
At the Fledglings, there was a lot of gull poop splattered on the beach. The black- backed gulls themselves however were presently located further down the beach, it not being the breeding season. On the way back towards the reef, I photographed some green algae that were dripping water on a cliff face. Due to the continuous flow of water from above, the algae was particularly lush and abundant.
Back on the reef, the sea was very calm and the weather quite balmy. Some terns and red billed gulls were resting up. They were obviously enjoying the windless conditions. I managed to get a ‘spot the birds’ photo, with cliffs in the background. There were starfish present in some of the rock pools but I didn’t photograph them.
8.3.2004 PHO2008-720-723, 1232-1233
I was staying up at the Gibbs’ farmhouse for three days hoping to do more cliff sequencing, this time at Te Kawau Pa. By 10.10 pm, the cicadas were singing and blackbiard and WASPS (believed to beVespula vulgaris), were gorging on fallen apples in the back garden. Silvereyes and sparrows were also foraging about. Out on the roadside and just outside the front garden, white and pink belladonna lilies (Amaryllis belladonna) were in flower.
First up, I kept my promise to the two stranded sheep I had heard on the cliffs at Beach Two yesterday. I told Russell and he said he would phone the MacKenzies. I also asked to explore some of the hills on his farm before I went to Te Kawau Pa after lunch.
As I arrived at the main gate just outside the MacKenzies place, a mob of sheep arrived. They were being driven up the road and into the paddock on the immediate right hand side. I told Mr MacKenzie about the two sheep. He said he knew where they were and planned to get them that night. Right, my ‘good deed for the day’ was done.
Up at the top of the hill, wind sheared ‘pom pom’ trees (puriri/astelias) greeted me. I also came across raupo (Typha orientalis), tortured dead tree trunks and shaved tea trees. Nikaus (Rhopalostylis sapida), appeared to be amazingly resilient, unlike the exposed puriri trees that had shaved heads or they sported ‘pom pom’ astelias in their mostly naked crowns. Karakas appeared to tough out the conditions better. Flies were attracted by my sweat and thistles latched onto my trainers. I didn’t see or hear any birds.
On my return, the sheep that I had seen earlier had now been penned up near a shed. I assumed that they were about to be shorn.
The day was remarkably clear. I went out onto the reef to photograph a fisherman with White Cliffs and Mt Egmont in the background. The photo shows the profusion of small mussels that inhabit the reef. Larger ones are also found there.
29.8.2004 PHO2008-456, 1364-1366,1368
While documenting some cliff collapses, I was enamoured by the beautiful green algae that festoon the splash zone on the cliff walls. Not so nice was coming across the carcass of a dead steer.
14.11.2005 PHO2008-1507, 1510, 1513
Near the smallest Fledgling, I noticed lots of tiny, transparent things that looked like shells had been washed up. I thought they might have been a type of jellyfish or something. After this I walked past the largest Fledgling. On the way back towards the smallest Fledgling, I saw a Bluebottle jellyfish in the sand. I hadn’t noticed it when I’d first walked past. I photographed it with my 105 mm lens.
Later on I went onto the reef to obtain some dramatic sky shots. The reef is shown, heavily encrusted with mostly small mussels. On the beach, there were also some large rocks with mussel spat on them.
From the southern end of the Gibbs’ Fishing Point, I saw some black-backed gulls atop the largest Fledgling.
While sitting in the car at the Pipeline, I saw three shorn sheep attempting to seek shelter from the howling wind. They had parked up next to a fence. I took a photo of them with Gull Rock in the background. The sea state was raging.
We have had brutal weather of late, but today was a ‘blink and you’ve missed’ it fine day. At the Fledglings Overlook, the grass on the knoll had been badly burnt. Some young Angus cattle were in the paddock to the rear.
The reef, as I have observed before, is well endowed with mussels. They are mostly small, but some larger ones inhabit the pools. On the lower parts of the reef, barnacles were more prevalent. Various seaweeds and green sea lettuce flourished in the pools.
12.9.2007 PHO2011-1035, 1039, 1049
As I strolled along the beach towards the Fledglings, I noticed some trawler debris. They looked like some kind of canvas strapping. I counted four in total. One was at the Pipeline entrance and the three others were further along the beach. (North).
Black-backed gulls were perched on the largest Fledgling while others circled overhead. I also noticed some black-backed gull tracks on the beach. I also spotted a dead domesticated (not wild) honeybee on the beach. Just before this I had noticed a plant seedling that had recently germinated. Its cotyledon leaves were in pristine condition as was the white stalk and tiny root. In all about two inches long.
In a small hollow at the base of the cliff to the rear of the largest Fledgling, I saw bits of logs, plastic drink bottles and a blue fishing float. They would be goneburgers after the next high tide.
Shortly after I saw three red billed gulls land on the beach.
Returning to the Pipeline, I noticed some bright orange sponges on the large rock that is parked up at the low tide mark.
Though I spent most of the day at Beach Two, I re-photographed one of the orange sponges I had seen on my last visit in close-up.
The weather was quite misty. At the Locked Gate I photographed looking down the cliff face towards the sea. Flaxes and toi toi showed up well in the overcast light.
Atop Gibbs’ Fishing Point, I spotted some black-backed gulls on the largest Fledgling.
While walking past Bush One on the way to Twin Creeks, I was disappointed to hear nothing in the bird department, apart from the pitiful odd sound of a silvereye. The paddocks however were resplendent with chirping crickets and grasshoppers.
I particularly wanted to photograph both Beach One and Beach Two from the reef with the panoramic camera. The two photos here show some of the mussels and barnacles that colonise the reef. There was also a scolding red-billed gull who didn’t want to shift as I approached for a better vantage point on the reef.
Walking past Bush One enroute to Twin Creeks, I heard several tuis singing in the flowering rewarewas. I also passed a young magpie sitting on the side of the road. It didn’t fly off but its parent was frantic.
On the trudge back, I again heard and saw the tuis, but this time I also saw a kereru.
Low cloud and fog were on the menu today. Before going down to the Gibbs’ Fishing Point, I trekked through a lush but sheep eaten paddock down to the Fledglings Overlook. There were a lot of black-backed gulls atop the largest Fledgling. And they weren’t happy with my presence! The vegetation was particularly well highlighted in the moist conditions.