Not a “Bird’s Eye View” but more a “Dog’s Nose View” of walking the Big Easy Track within the Point Bush Ecosanctuary
Living in Singapore there was continuous year round heat and humidity with only seasonal monsoons for variation. I’ve never seen rain quite like it since! Huge deluges interspersed with cracking lightening and thunder making it one of the world’s highest lightening strike countries. In a matter of minutes the deep Storm Water Ditches ( built purposefully all over the Island for just such times) would rapidly fill to the brim and rivers of water that once used to drown streets and flood housing are now safely chanelled away. It was exciting weather in it’s own way and memorable to witness such Monsoon downpours but that was about the only variety of weather. It was rare to see stars and clear night skies only became visible once across the Straights into Indonesia away from the City night sky pollution.
So, even though it’s a few years since returning to Waimate, I still delight in seeing the Seasons arrive here and especially this time of year with Autumn well and truly arrived with cold crisp mornings followed by warm sunny days and the sun low in the sky casting wonderful illumination and shadows through the deciduous trees. The vibrance of Autum leaf colours shine like jewels in the trees and carpet the ground with such a rich array of leaf colours and shapes.
Having shuffled through the mounting pile of colourful deciduous leaves now fallen in the garden, I headed out and up the grassy hill and into the quiet canopied start of the Big Easy Walk Track, being tugged along by 2 very excited dogs on leash. A joy for all of us to be out on such a glorious Autumn Day. It was doggy heaven for them! With their olfactory senses working overtime exploring every trace of smell be it rabbit or wallaby tracks and much more no doubt....they paused a lot! Their detective sniffing pace suited my mood as I slowed to a meditation pace to match theirs and I was taking the time to absorb everything around me using all my olfactory, sight and hearing senses....taking time to stare into the trees, plants and understory.
Listening intently to the silence for the sound of rustling of movement in the Bush broken by a Tui or Bellbird very close by. A sudden distinctive bird wing sound errupted and three magnificent Kereru birds swooped into a nearby tree and settled down on an overhead branch, completely oblivious to my presence. They weren’t feeding....just content to sit and contemplate quietly with their large white feather breasts all puffed up.
Further along the track the many Piwakawaka Fantails were doing their aerobatic displays overhead and turned into a frenzy of Fantails when I spotted a rogue Banana Passion Fruit vine climbing a Totara Tree. I had a pair of pruners with me as I was on the hunt for such pest plants and tugged and pulled the vine down, disturbing the many bugs and insects, much to the Piwakawaka's delight! There’s such a variance in their colouring with some Fantails almost jet black and others with rosey red breasts.
They were in such a state of excitement and not at all bothered by my presence or the dogs who by now were strained the full length of leash whilst I dealt the to Vine wanting to move on. So it was hilarious to see Piwakawakas alight on the “tightrope” dog leash using it as a convenient perch!
Moving further along the Track towards the Bridge and alongside the quiet flowing stream, the temperature drops and the dark understory is full of ferns and mosses. It is amazing to observe up close moss carpets harbouring tiny tiny fungi. I came across a multitude of miniature pale fungi growing on a moss bed growing on an ancient Native Fuchsia (Kotukutuku) Tree.
Close up they resembled a “Tiny Toadstool Town”. This time of year with much more dew and moisture in the air, especially along this part of the track by the stream where the dank and dampness has provided life for so many varying fungi that are in abundance at this time of year, it is so intereating to see how many varieties of fungi there are with some plate size attached to lower trunks of native trees.
It was a slow pace walk revealing many delights along the way. However, what was not so delightful was seeing the numerous worn tracks criss crossing the forest floor....evidence of the many Wallaby in the Forest.
It’s a monster massive problem with Wallaby numbers ever increasing and the areas of invasion extending further and further.
E-Can and DOC are well aware and are struggling to find effective solutions as are the many landowners and Farmers. We are liaising with them on a regular basis whilst working towards the day (and funding) when we can erect predator fencing around the EcoSanctuary bloc.
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Until next time on the "Biome Blog" - take care,
Point Bush Ecosanctuary Trustee