4 January 2018
Kauri Dieback and Tracks in Waitakere Ranges January 2017
Kauri Dieback disease is affecting our Waitakere Ranges. I have compiled this blog with reference and thanks to many sources, in the hope that it will help our caring and discerning Guests who were hoping to come to us at Bush Sand and Sea B&B, and to explore our wonderful but sadly under threat Waitakere Ranges. A Rāhui has been placed over the Waitakere Ranges in a bid to stop the spread of kauri dieback disease. In Māori culture, a rāhui is a form of tapu restricting access to, or use of, an area or resource by unauthorised persons. For example Rahui are often used to manage coastal fisheries. This means that visitors are not able to use most of the walking tracks in the Waitakere ranges.
We still have a magnificent coastal walk available, part of the Hillary Trail, from Muriwai to Te Henga (Bethells Beach), approximately 4-5 hrs. You can enjoy the wonderfully wild beach, a walk to Lake Wainamu and almost 1km of track on our own land which is all-weather with its boardwalk and 4 bridges. On our track you can see some Kauri trees but we ask you to observe the shoe washing instructions and keep to the track.
Our Kauri trees are one of Aotearoa’s unique taonga. But kauri dieback is threatening kauri with extinction. There is no cure for kauri dieback yet, and it can be spread by just a pinhead of soil. But kauri will be saved – by people like you. Our closest tracks are in the Cascades. We, at Bush Sand and Sea B&B support the Rahui placed by Te Kaweraua a Maki in December. Here is a great video in which our own Local, Rewi Spraggon, explains the reason for this unusual action.
Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand also support this position, as do many Organizations, Locals and private individuals. The Waitakere Rahui Facebook page is:https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/protectourkauri?source=feed_text
It is fair to say that this extreme,(but essential view in our opinion), is different to that of our own Auckland Council. On December 5, Auckland City councillors have voted to close high- and medium-risk tracks to manage the spread of the disease.
Kauri dieback is a disease caused by Phytophthora agathidicida, a fungus-like organism and can be deadly for kauri trees of all ages. It is devastating our kauri trees. Kauri dieback lives in soil and infects kauri roots. Nearly all infected kauri die – there is no known resistance or treatment to the disease.
The report from Auckland Council shows that the rate of infection in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park (WRRP) has doubled in the last five years bringing up the question of whether preventing all public access to the park is needed to protect the trees from continued spread of the disease.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) have this to say on http://www.doc.govt.nz/our-work/kauri-dieback-recreation-project/
- Clean all soil off your footwear and other gear, every time you enter or leave a forest/area with native trees, and at every cleaning station.
- Use disinfectant only after you have removed all the soil.
As far as I am aware, if you are heading North after leaving us, you can still visit the fabulous Tane Mahuta
FINALLY, Is the disease found overseas, and if so, what are the protection measures elsewhere?
“The disease has not been found overseas. However, many other countries have had to manage Phytophthora diseases, such as Phytophthora dieback of Jarrah trees in Australia, Sudden Oak Death in the US, etc.” ref.https://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/2017/08/10/kauri-dieback-waitakere-ranges-expert-reaction/
2 January 2018.
We have had some cancellations in January 2018, and have decided that it feels just a bit odd to be so quiet at this time of the year. There’s very little availability left in February and March. In fact we needed to disappoint some recent Luxemborgeans. They were so happy here at the start of their trip and wanted to return at the end of their New Zealand tour. Sadly, our calendar was already full on the new dates they wanted. C’est la vie!
So, we decided a discount was in order. The special JANUARY ONLY deal is: ” Stay 5 night minimum, pay the reduced price of NZ$1050, (22.5% discount), and between Jan 8 and 19th 2018″.
Email or ring us directly please to check dates and price.
I also need to add that the new Queen sized Tilt Down bed is getting very favourable comments. We can confidently say that we are VERY suitable for 4 adults now, and neither couple has to feel they got a second-rate sleep. The most recent Guests said, “Its great and more comfortable than my own bed”!!!
5 December 2017.
The Nikau is New Zealand’s only palm. We have many on our property and a whole grove along part of our bush walk. The trunks are unbranched, up to 10m tall with a 25cm diameter.The top is crowned with large sheathing leaves or ‘fronds’.
I couldn’t resist running back for the camera this morning to snap this fresh bloom on the Nikau tree, (Rhopalostylis sapida). There is always something new to spot in the bush. I was just on the way to the clothesline and saw that the pod had been slipped off so that the flower ‘fingers’ could unfurl in the light. Some flowers don’t make it out and can’t escape from the pod, especially when it’s very dry, and then I have to help them by finding a long stick and knocking the pod case off! (foot added for scale). The ‘fingers’ are furled so tightly and often take a day to fully open out. The whole flower head is called an inflorescence and is made up of multiple tiny pink flowers. The fresh pods have a sweet aroma and dampness about them and this one was already housing some beetles. The red berries, up to 10mm long, often take 1 year to ripen and each contains a large seed, a good food source for the kereru and other birds. They swallow the whole fruit and then disperse the seed.
2 December 2017
The sunsets keep entertaining us. Night after night, we are treated to the most amazing hues of red, purple, yellow as the sun sets and the colours whirl through a kaleidoscopic splendour. The sun has also cleared the last tip of land and now sets firmly in the sea.
Also, yesterday we had a late cancellation from Dec 29 for 4 days. So if anyone wants 4-5 days break and to join us here in our patch of paradise, now is a good moment to jump in. The pictures never quite match the true colours, but they still look stunning.
12 November 2017
We know we live in Paradise, but I wanted to share 2 pics taken yesterday. The sunset was amazing. My pic taken from our dining room window, and the second pic was snapped by a Bethell’s local who was down at the beach. They are a sign of good things to come. Enjoy.
10 October 2017
At Bush Sand and Sea B&B, because we are so small, we can ‘personalise’ a stay. Although a minority amongst our Guests, we enjoy the wedding Guests. Some come the night before, others on the actual wedding day, and then give themselves a day or two to relax, if they are lucky. Then they leave us to honeymoon in an exotic location, again if they are lucky. Some need to go back to work. They NEED time to recover. It’s a very busy time before the wedding day and they can be exhausted. We like to think that we can provide a place to rest, to contemplate the events. Alan and I have been married for 46 years and so we like to give them a small gift as a token. We give them recycled glasses, believing we are passing on some of our good luck.
Here’s what last weekends Guests said, “Thank you for your hospitality. We are very appreciative of the lovely food you left here for us. The home-made bread was amazing and the breakfast were yummy too. This place was just what we needed after our wedding: quiet, private, peaceful and a really nice house. We have felt so hidden away from the world. Thank you again.” Job done well, we reckon!
12 September 2017
Now I can report sightings of more Kereru and feisty Tui birds around us again. We feel less sad. Spring is the highlight of the year for me! More and more yellow kowhai trees are blooming, and the kitchen window becomes a beautiful frame of the bush on the ridge opposite. You can sit on the outside deck and hear the Tuis as they feast and fatten. You can spot the white native clematis as they reach for the light atop the bush. They are sun seeking, so need to get up high to flourish. The pics of three of my clematis ‘babies’, planted on our driveway about 2-3 years ago, are now all fully in flower. The west end of our Te Aute Ridge are coming alive with both kowhai and clematis, and the song of Tuis birds can be thunderous as they compete, cavort and socialise for the sweetest nectar. At the end of the day, they can be seen flying high and purposefully as they return to their own territory, heading in the same direction.
16 August 2017
It is with a heavy heart that I have to report about a recent loss of a magnificent Kereru (NZ pigeon) due to window strike. I have sat on the blog, too sad to write this, upset at the loss, but also concerned that the two sets of Guests, who took many pictures, and studied this bird, will be saddened too. However, it is life, the natural cycle of life and death, and one that cannot be ignored.
On this occasion, about one month ago, while I was out one grey day, Alan heard a loud bang, investigated and saw that the bird had struck our main dining room window. It was on the ground, moved away as Alan approached, fluttered down our steps and established itself in the bush, on the ground. When I came home, I was tired, after visiting my elderly Mum, who lives right next to Bird Rescue in Godley Rd, Green Bay, Akl. We agreed the bird looked content, recovering quietly. It was a very cold night- that was our big mistake. First thing in the morning, we checked our friend, rang Bird Rescue, and Lynn advised we bring him or her in. One hour later, after being transferred into a new box, on a heat pad at 37 degrees, sadly, it died. Lyn had 3 other kereru lined up in their boxes and they all survived. Upon examination, she found it was not in great health, empty crop, nothing broken, but fairly wasted. This was a surprise, considering we all observed it being ‘king of the lancewood’ and scoffing fruit for hours on end in the sun.
My lesson, and her advise, always try to capture, (maybe throw a cloth over making it a gentler capture and they panic less), keep in a warm dark box. Sometimes they may simply exit the box when recovered. Time may be all they need. Have glass windows, will have bird strikes. Sometimes they survive, sometimes not. We keep our lounge blinds down all day, and recently a Guest left because our home looked like we had gone out. We ask our Guests to keep blinds down, especially if they go out for the day, and we have decals on some of their windows.
Long blog, you can see it still hurts! Donations always gratefully received by Lyn MacDonald at http://birdrescue.org.nz/rescuing-a-bird/
16 August 2017
Our first clematis buds have opened at last. These are the early ‘Heralders’ of spring as the temperatures are more reliably rising and warming the soil. The bright yellow narcissi bulbs were first, and now the daffodils. Many more bulbs are popping their heads up bravely and testing the air. I planted 3 clematis seedlings 2 years ago and they literally took off, climbing up the manukas on the side of our drive, clinging wherever they could, as they reached for the light. All 3 flowered in the first year, and are now all budded and beginning to open. We also have a clematis off the rear deck, (on a five finger tree), and another on the front deck, (growing along the rail), and both are in bud now, waiting their turn to burst open.
Next will be the kowhai, and in the next one to two months, the Te Henga Valley will come alive with the yellow kowhai blooms, and star bursts of clematis from atop the green of the trees. I love spring!
25 May 2017
A thirsty kereru’s (native wood pigeon) thirst is satisfied. Look at these amazing photos taken by last weekend’s Guests. He had spotted our ruru (owl) photo on our website, (thought it must have been a decal stuck to the window. It wasn’t!) Because of this, he came with his camera charged and ready. I mentioned that many birds are now using the birdbath on the front lawn, in full view from the B’&B’s lounge windows and deck: wax eyes, tui, fantail and kereru. He took many photos, but these are his two best and he very kindly gave us the pics, with his best wishes!
At this time of year, the trees around the B&B are supplying birds with a range of seeds from the native trees. These include lancewood, five fingers, nikau and cabbage trees.