Tag Archive for South Island

Nevis River Valley dam plan blocked…

As a regular recreational user of the amazingly beautiful Nevis River valley I’m ¬†rather delighted about this:

A controversial plan to dam Central Otago’s Nevis River for hydro power has been blocked by the Government.Environment Minister Amy Adams said today that a dam or diversion on the lower Nevis River would have major negative effects.

more via >> Nevis dam plan blocked | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand & International News.

Volunteer work on a new conservation initiative in Mt Aspiring National Park

Sometimes I take some time-out to help the NZ Dept of Conservation do braided river multi day bird surveys, or to help even the odds for endangered species like the Buff Weka, and once even did a bat survey in the dark.

In a joint venture with the newly formed Matukituki Charitable Trust, last week several of us headed into the West Matukituki Valley an hours drive from Wanaka, and laid many 500m lines of tracking tunnels on the opposite side of the river to the popular tramping trip to Aspiring Hut, from the Rob Roy Glacier track up to Pearl Flat. Each tunnel line was placed a min. of 200 meters from the previous, with a max of ten tunnels per line [hopefully in a straight line, and in the bush, and we mostly achieved this].

Tracking tunnels simply consist of long semi round or rectangular tubes, inside which a card and an ink pad are be placed.

Typically peanut butter is smeared in the middle of the tunnel to attract animals in and onto the ink, and so when they exit, they leave footprints on the clean card on either end, thus enabling predator control programmes to be tailor made for the predominate species identified.

To get animal densities, called tracking indices, tracking tunnels are placed on pre-determined lines in the bush. Most commonly 10 are placed at 50m intervals along each line. The cards are left overnight, and when collected the next day the footprints are used to determine what animals had been there.

full explanation via >> Tracking Tunnels | Conservation in NZ

Carrying the tunnels can be quite awkward…
Matukituki Charitable Trust Tracking tunnels

While Flo takes GPS settings Stu nails a marker to the tree a tracking tunnel is to be attached to at the base…
Matukituki Charitable Trust Tracking tunnels

We were so thrilled when a rare South Island robin found us and kept us company for awhile. The New Zealand robin/toutouwai is a sparrow-sized bird found only in New Zealand.

They are friendly and trusting often coming to within a couple of metres of people, but we are not always the attraction but rather the invertebrates disturbed by our activities…
NZ native South Island Robin

Crossing the Matukituki River each morning was a bit of chore in the frost, and river levels had to be monitored to ensure we could get back across later…
River crossing Matukituki River Mt Aspiring National Park

Gillian heads off fast with a load of tunnels to warm up as the frost and mist disperse …
Matukituki Charitable Trust's Gillain carrying Tracking tunnels

We did have vehicle support…
Matukituki Charitable Trust Tracking tunnel project


Sharks Tooth from the Matukituki Valley


Matukituki Charitable Trust Tracking tunnel project


Matukituki Charitable Trust Tracking tunnel project

But it was still quite hard work bush bashing…
Matukituki Charitable Trust Tracking tunnel project

But the views really made up for the sweat lost…
Plunket Dome - Mt Aspiring National Park


Matukituki Charitable Trust Tracking tunnel project


Beech tree Mt Aspiring National Park


Matukituki Charitable Trust Tracking tunnel project

My group having a self congratulatory “selfie” photo using my camera’s timer, to celebrate a job well done…
Matukituki Charitable Trust Tracking tunnel project

After another convivial and restful night in the Aspiring Hut Warden’s Quarters we headed out early the next morning followed by rain…
Aspiring Hut Warden's Quarters


Sheep Mt Aspiring Station, Matukituki Valley


Rainbow Matukituki Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park

The sky’s the limit for Simon Spencer-Bower who has just logged 20,000 hours …

I was pretty amazed this week to learn that my friend Simon Spencer-Bower has just logged 20,000 hours as a pilot. I knew a year or two ago he was first in the world to exceed 10,000 in a Robinson 22. This alone is quite an achievement!

I’ve flown with him a few times, including a very special time when times were hard in my life, when he took my son age 10, and I heli-sking on the Pisa Range with his children, and what really impressed me was how he took the time to shut down while waiting on us older lads, and when we got down to him there he was building a snowman with his daughter and my Dougal.

Here are a few photos of another day in the hills with him when I was helping he and his staff gather up the remains of a glider that had crashed a few days before [with fatalities] on a mountain side between Hawea and the Ahuriri Valley…

Wanaka Helicopters Squirrel

Wanaka Helicopters Squirrel

Wanaka Helicopters Squirrel

Wanaka Helicopters Squirrel

Wanaka Helicopters Simon Spencer-Bower

Simon is an excellent photographer too… more>>

The Otago Daily Times also did an excellent feature on his achievement this week..

Wanaka Helicopters owner Simon Spencer-Bower is modest about his many aviation achievements, but even he could confess to being a little proud of his latest one – this week reaching 20,000 flying hours.

More via >> Otago Daily Times Online News

Minaret barge pusher boat out of Lake Wanaka for survey

Some years ago Wanaka local identity and business man Sir Tim Wallis commissioned a huge barge to be built to service his Minaret Station up the lake from the Wanaka Makarora highway [the popular tourist route and only road to Haast and the West Coast]. The barge and pusher boat were built and assembled near Wanaka on a gently sloping beach and boat launching area called Waterfall Creek. It was quite an event in more ways than one!

So when I heard recently the unit was being serviced there again I took a drive to check it out:

Minaret Station Barge Lake Wanaka

Minaret Station Barge Lake Wanaka

The local newspaper based in Dunedin, the Otago Daily Times did an article on it as well:

For the first time since its launch in Lake Wanaka almost 18 years ago, the pusher boat for the Minaret Station barge was taken out of the water this week to be surveyed.The 15m by 6m, 65-tonne vessel has attracted plenty of attention from the […]

more via >> Barge boat out of lake for survey | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand

Marine reserve a must for Otago | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand

New Zealand has some stunning coastal areas and wild-life, but there seems little “official” appreciation of this treasure.

A Red-billed Gull (Larus novaehollandiae scopulinus) enjoying a view while a boat fishes recreationally in North Otago…
sea gull

Kekeno (New Zealand fur seal) are the most common seals in New Zealand waters. – a protected species – basking…
fur seal

A Red-billed Gull (Larus novaehollandiae scopulinus) rookery…IMG 4288 2

My friend Andrew Penniket a very skilled under water photographer and cinematography legend, and also a marine biologist has called for an end to the ”stalling” which he says is blocking the establishment of Otago marine reserves, and thus he got a mention in the local ODT newspaper – he’s “onto it”…

“When it comes to protecting our seas, Otago is the most backward region in New Zealand.

More via >> Marine reserve a must for Otago | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand

 

Of the world’s 36 species of shag 12 are found in New Zealand and 8 of these are endemic, and I’m not sure which one this one is I photographed at Doctor’s Point Otago…
Shag

Whole Nevis Valley now ‘outstanding’ | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand

The entire Nevis Valley will be classified an outstanding natural landscape in the Central Otago district plan, under an agreement reached by parties debating the landscape’s value before the Environment Court.

The move, likely to tighten restrictions on any development in the valley, was welcomed yesterday by the Central Otago Environmental Society, which said the decision would close a “loophole” in the district plan.

Judge Jon Jackson and […]

more via >> Whole Nevis Valley now ‘outstanding’ | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand & International News.