17 December 2007

One more; once more

Whio and chick

Here's another photo of whio from the Waikamaka river. I'm off into the Ruahine again today, for the rest of the week; the weather forecast's not too flash, but we have a comfortable hut and I'm taking a good book, a pen, and my notebook (the paper version).

I hope you have as good a week to look forward to.


1. Whio (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos) adult and Class II chick. Waikamaka River, Ruahine Range; December '07.
2. And now for something completely different... Until recently, this grey house spider (Badumna longinqua) lived in a corner of one of my windows. As an indication of scale, that's the remains of a blowfly on the right. The untidy web is typical of these spiders. She eventually ended up outside, after I opened the window and she scuttled off and fell out :^(

Photos and words © 2007 Pete McGregor


Ruahines said...

Another cool shot Pete. My 5 year old son looked at the Whio photos and commented how different they look from the caged one in the Esplanade here in PN. I thought that was very observant as the colour, and spirit perhaps?, of that Whio is very dull and subdued.
You must be fighting fit in the ranges now, how cool to be able to renew yourself with them with such frequent interaction. I can't wait. Happy Yuletide, and have a great trip.

R.R. said...

Total justification for not cleaning windows!

butuki said...

Have a wonderful time up in the hills, Pete. I will be taking off for New York on Sunday, and though it will not exactly be very relaxing, it will be great to see family and lots of old friends again. If I can I will try to write you before I leave, if not, please have a warm and festive Christmas and New Year's ! Tchau!

lené said...

Happy Writing (and happy holidays), Pete. :) May your days be filled with fruitful encounters and inspired words.

Peregrina said...

How did you fare in last night's earthquake, way up there in the Ruahine? Your hut must surely have rattled, as I felt it this long way south - a jerk and brief light shaking which sent me leaping from my chair to under a doorway, then nothing, so that I stood wondering if I'd only imagined it. With all the damage done to buildings in Gisborne, it is remarkable that the only reported human casualties are fifteen people treated in hospital for minor injuries.

Your spider reminded me of one that took up residence one winter in the wall-cavity behind our kitchen sink when both inside and outside repair work was long overdue. She popped out at night in the gap where a water-pipe ran into the wall, and eventually produced a large family of spiderlings. (They'd moved elsewhere before the walls were demolished and rebuilt.) I leave spiders and their webs in the corners of the backporch windows for long periods before carefully removing webs and inhabitants outside so I can do an occasional window-clean. They're great fly-catching units!

Your whio photographs are magnificent. I've never seen one, but could certainly recognise one now if I did. I was fascinated by the little black flaps they have on their bills - used for scraping insects off rocks, the bird book says.

I hope you've had a good trip without too much rain. I look forward to hearing about it.


pohanginapete said...

Hey Robb, thanks, and I hope you manage to get out into the hills and return renewed and invigorated. Breathe deep out there and store it up; call on it when you need it. Looking forward to catching up with you. :^)

r.r., I was going to say it's as good an excuse as any — but I need no excuses. While I'm able to enjoy these places and times, it would seem wrong not to do so. Best wishes for a great Christmas and New Year :^)

Miguel, thanks :^) New York... well, it's certainly different from Ngamoko hut. With a little luck I'll be able to prove that assertion to you some time. Be good to hear from you, and in the meantime, have a brilliant time in that big crazy place.

Lené, it's good to hear from you. Thanks for your help and encouragement recently — much appreciated. And, if I can find time to mull over a reasonable response, I might do something about that meme ;^) Best wishes for a great and satisfying holiday break, Lené.

Peregrina, we were about an hour from the car, walking in the bush in the last of the light. Neither of us felt the 'quake — but we heard it. A sound like a huge diesel engine in the distance, but we were far too distant from any roads. John wondered about it; I suggested it might be a 'quake coming. Then he pointed to a root on a windthrown tree. We could see it quivering, and realised it was indeed an earthquake. I looked up at the trees above us, thinking about those massive Astelias — the widowmakers — perched there, waiting to fall and squish us into jam, but fortunately neither of us is married, so the widowmakers couldn't be bothered with us. Actually, we were pretty safe anyway, as the beeches were largely free of big epiphytes. I'm still surprised we felt nothing, though. In Wanganui, perhaps twice as far from the epicentre, the effects were dramatic — trees swaying, water sloshing out of pools, etc.

Yes, it was a great trip. A very hard day walking in; a couple of days of light rain which allowed us to relax in the hut; a hard day's walk out. And, magnificent country.

All the best for a wonderful Christmas/New Year, Peregrina, and I hope we can catch up when I'm visiting Christchurch.

butuki said...

Pete, greetings from New York! Big crazy place, yes! Am I anjoying it? Strangely enough, yes! But that's due to being with people I love. That makes all the difference.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

May the new turn around the sun be as memorable and exciting as the last.


pohanginapete said...

Thanks Miguel. Being with people one loves does indeed contribute hugely to the delight of life. I'm fortunate in being able to do just that, AND enjoy solitude in places I love.

Have a great time!