World’s Heaviest Insect: Hunt for the Giant Wētā

We were lucky enough to meet the Mahoenui giant wētā on this expedition. The story behind the endangered Mahoenui giant wētā is an interesting one. The Mahoenui giant wētā was long considered extinct on the mainland, until it was rediscovered in 1962 .

A Native New Zealand Centipede

Recently, whilst weeding one of these gardens in residential Whanganui, we came across this beautiful centipede. It was about 4cm in length, and bared its forcipules AKA ‘fangs’ when we disturbed it under a log in the flowerbed. The blue antennae were stunning, so we took the chance for a quick photo-shoot.

Greenhood Orchid Survey

Working with greenhood orchids from the genus Pterostylis was an interesting experience for me. Most of my paid and voluntary encounters with wildlife have, historically, been with those of the animal kingdom. So, it was about time that I helped survey some of our greener kin.

New Zealand Falcon in Bushy Park

On a recent exploit to Bushy Park, Whanganui, we heard, and consequently hunted down two New Zealand falcon (karearea) perching high up in a tree amongst the epiphytes. This was a first for me and a great chance to get some photographs.

New Zealand’s Sacred Kingfisher

Now that I am in New Zealand, I’ve been looking out for kingfishers. I often hear a ‘keh-keh-keh’ as I go about my daily business, and even see the silhouette of New Zealand kingfishers perching, at height, on telegraph wires near waterways.

Captured on Film: Hihi Nesting in Tawa Tree

At Bushy Park, despite knowing that hihi have used natural cavities before, no nests in natural cavities have actually been found. That is why, when walking through the bush on Wednesday, we were very excited to spot a female hihi emerge from a hole in a tawa tree.

From the Garden

So much of my childhood was occupied by garden explorations – trying to find the shiniest beetle, the jumpiest leaf hopper, the longest stick insect, the biggest bug… The emperor gum moth and its caterpillar were always the ultimate find.