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…

A New Zealand Tūī Feeding on Flax Nectar

Click to zoom in New Zealand’s Endemic Tūī Tūī (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) are an endemic New Zealand bird found across almost all of New Zealand. They range from the subtropical Kermadec Islands to the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands. Tūī are noticeably absent from the Canterbury region although they were found there historically. With native planting, predator control,…

Nice to Bee back in New Zealand: Hive Audits

Beeing Employed Click to zoom in Within a week of being back in the country, we had somehow landed a short-term contract working with honey bees. Emma and I had put on bee suits before and photographed a friends bees but that was the extent of our experience. For this work, we essentially drove around…

Nighttime in the Jungle: Bioluminescent Mushrooms

Nighttime in the Jungle Assisting a researcher based at Danau Girang Field Centre along the lower Kinabatangan River (Sabah, Borneo), we set out on a nighttime frog survey.  We came across many amazing frog species, a few of which you can check out in our blog post here. Whilst walking along the track, we noticed…