30 January 2015

The Port Hills above Taylor's Mistake

On our return along the Scarborough track to Taylor's Mistake, the last of the evening sun grazed the Port Hills. On the other side of this lies Lyttelton Harbour.

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor

28 January 2015

A beautiful mistake

In Christchurch last week we visited Taylor's Mistake a couple of times and walked the track towards Scarborough. On the second visit we were treated to this beautiful evening light on Godley Head (the photograph is from the Scarborough track). I remember thinking as we left that this was a place I'd be happy to live.

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor

25 January 2015

Copper butterfly, Taylor's Mistake, Christchurch

The compulsion to photograph these small, beautiful, native butterflies (Lycaena sp.) is irresistible for me. This was one of two flitting around a large white flower on the Taylor's Mistake track near Christchurch, last Tuesday.

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor

20 January 2015

Mayfly time

It's that time of year again, when mayfly adults start appearing on the walls and windows. This is a male sub-imago (the adult stage before the final moult into the full adult form); it's probably Deleatidium autumnale. This is a hand-held photograph at ISO 1600 with natural light (no flash); the insect was facing upwards on the excessively grubby kitchen window. (I've rotated the photograph.)

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor

16 January 2015

Snowberry (Gaultheria sp.)

On Christmas Day on my way to Toka Biv,  I stopped near the top of Knights Track to photograph this flowering Gaultheria. The usual common name for this little subalpine shrub is snowberry, but many years ago I heard another name. A friend had worked for what was then the New Zealand Forest Service and had spent the summer working on various aspects of protection forestry — what we'd now call conservation. He'd got to know many native plants but had almost been fooled by the resemblance of Gaultheria to seedlings of some of the southern beeches (Nothofagus).

He laughed, and pointed to the little snowberry. 'The foresters,' he said, 'call this "trainee beech".'

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor

13 January 2015

Sunrise at Toka Biv, Ngamoko Range

At Toka Biv, dense cloud obscured any view at first light. When the sun rose above the ridge, however, the cloud began to burn off.

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor

11 January 2015

Dawn at Toka Biv, Ngamoko Range

At first light this morning, a fierce wind howled around Toka Biv. I peered out the door and saw this. Fortunately, the cloud retreated when the sun rose, and the wind eased a little. The walk back to the tops, along to Toka and down Knights Track saw us battling the wind and cold much of the way, but I've had worse conditions up there and we still enjoyed an excellent overnight tramp in the Ruahine.

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor

07 January 2015

Living dangerously (rabbit)

At about nine this the morning, two rabbits nibbled the pasture in the paddock right in front of my house. By the time I'd changed lenses on the camera, one had disappeared but the other kept feeding. I eased the kitchen door open, photographed the rabbit, then crawled out onto the verandah, keeping out of sight. I rested the camera on the verandah railing and photographed some more, and the rabbit kept right on feeding.

Given Trev next door is a keen hunter, this rabbit seemed unbelievably stupid. On the other hand, perhaps it knew he was away for a couple of days (I'm looking after the chooks and the spaniel-with-no-brain).

I love having these animals around the place and will miss them when the inevitable happens.

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor

03 January 2015

The route from Toka to Leon Kinvig hut

On the way from Toka Biv to Leon Kinvig hut, I stopped to photograph a crane fly and eat a muesli bar. Heavy cloud drifted around the tops from where I'd just descended, but the wind lacked its usual viciousness and the temperature remained pleasant. The place felt like home.

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor

01 January 2015

Southern beech forest, Oroua valley

The day before New Year's Eve I returned to the Ruahine, walking to Iron Gate hut in the head of the Oroua catchment, where I met my friends Robb and John, who had spent several days camped on the tops and at Triangle hut further up the river. Rain set in towards evening but didn't dampen the enjoyment, and by morning the cloud had begun to draw back. We walked out in almost ideal conditions.

Happy New Year, everyone.

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor