Rhesus Macaques of Swayambhunath Stupa, Nepal

The Location Once again, Emma and I made a brief stop-off at a new and exciting location. On this occasion while making the big trip from NZ to the UK, we touched down in Kathmandu, Nepal. Although we met numerous kind and welcoming people, tried an array of scrummy food items, and visited many sacred…

One Night at Mahakirau Forest Estate

Three Archey’s frogs, five Hochstetter’s frogs, three Coromandel striped geckos, and one forest gecko… all seen in less than a 24 hour period! Whenever we visit Sara and Ro out at Mahakirau Forest Estate, we are always spoilt with wildlife encounters.

The Real Shelob – A Freshly Moulted Tunnelweb Spider

Our Encounter Whilst out on bird counts in Pohangina (Manawatu, New Zealand), Emma and I stumbled across a dead tree which was still standing. Being curious ecologists, we peeled back a large piece of bark. Behind the bark was this wonderful tunnelweb spider. Click to zoom in It had just moulted, displaying its cream cephalothorax…

The Silver Orb Spider (Leucauge dromedaria)

Click to zoom in Much like our previous spider post, the spider under the spotlight today (Leucauge dromedaria) is an Australian import that we found on one of our bush walks here in New Zealand. Its common names are ‘Horizontal Orbweb Spider’, ‘Silver Orb Spider’ and ‘Humped Silver Orb Spider’. The first described specimen was misidentified…

Move Over Lucas – Meet the Polkadot Jumping Spider

My Great Uncle, Peter, kindly gifted me a new flash unit as a Christmas present. Despite being desperate to use it, we have been so busy with fieldwork and house renovations that now, several months later, I have only just managed to have my first real play. Meeting the Polkadot Jumping Spider During some downtime…

Mātātā: The New Zealand Fernbird

A Secretive Onlooker While tramping in the Kaweka & Kaimanawa Forest Parks, New Zealand, (see our previous blog post on that adventure here) we came across a curious sound emanating from some scrub within the wetland we were walking through. In between calls, the foliage would shake gently as it made its way to a new vantage…

Tramping in the Kaweka & Kaimanawa Forest Parks, New Zealand

I recently accompanied Emma’s father (Stewart), his friend (David), and David’s avian aversion certified Labrador (Sika) on a four day/three night tramp (AKA ‘hike’ for those not familiar with the New Zealand lingo). Click on any of the photos in this post to get a closer look. Note: Only registered, avian aversion certified hunting dogs, Guide…

The Ducks Who Surf Rapids: New Zealand’s Endangered Whio

A Caravanning Trip in the Rain Despite the weather forecast promising us a very rainy weekend, nothing was going to deter us from heading out. Mum and Dad’s caravan was stocked with the essentials, mine and Tom’s cameras were packed, we all had our raincoats and gumboots, so off we set up the windy Parapara…

New Zealand’s Largest & Heaviest Native Moth

Click to zoom in There are many names for the largest native moth in New Zealand, and much can be gleaned from a name… The Pūriri Moth (Aenetus virescens) One of the grub’s main host trees is the pūriri tree (Vitex lucens) hence a common name being the pūriri moth. The Ghost Moth Ngāti Kahungunu (the Māori iwi…

A New Zealand Summer Migrant: The Elusive Shining Cuckoo

A Familiar Noise Most, if not all of those that have spent time outdoors in New Zealand’s summer, will recognise this noise: Weep weep weep weep weep woooooop (click to listen).  Few of these people, however, will have actually seen the creature that belts out this long, repetitive whistling tune.  The reason for this is perhaps down…