31 October 2015

Honey bee

A large clump of flowering arum lilies at the front of the terrace has been attracting myriad insects of a great variety. Honey bees have been working the flowers enthusiastically; getting a decent photograph has been an exercise in frustration.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

26 October 2015

A seat with a view (No. 1 Line)

I've mentioned the No. 1 Line track so often now, I thought I should show you the top seat. I walked up there again today, brewed tea (that's it on the seat) and scribbled a few notes. The shrub's a horopito — mountain pepperwood (Pseudowintera colorata) — one of the most abundant shrubs in this altitudinal zone. The weather's pretty typical, too.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

19 October 2015

Moss drop

I'd stopped to search the overcast sky for the falcon I'd heard calling around the top of the No. 1 Line track late this afternoon. No luck, although just hearing these marvellous birds and knowing they were so close was lucky enough.

Then I got distracted by some pixie cup lichens growing on the long-fallen, overgrown tree stump on which I'd been standing. As I photographed the lichens I realised the stump also had a profuse growth of beret lichens, and as I photographed those, I noticed this tiny tuft of moss caught in a water drop and suspended from a line of spider silk. The more you look, the more you see.

(P.S. If, like me, you can see at least one face in this drop, you might be interested in this article, which discusses pareidolia.)

[Update, 20 Oct. 2015: I published another post on Pohanginapete this morning: An hour upon the stage. It's long (about 3500 words), so allow plenty of time if you're interested enough to read it.]

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

16 October 2015

It's blackbird nesting time again

For the past few years a pair of blackbirds has nested just below the roof of the walkway at work. Largely unperturbed by the constant human passers-by, they've raised a couple of broods each year. The first chicks this spring are growing at a phenomenal rate, so I decided to photograph them before they leave the nest. Look carefully and you'll see three chicks (well, not much of the third, but enough!)

I'm usually reluctant to photograph nests, or even search for them, because of the potential disruption, which in the worst case can lead either to the adults abandoning the nest or to predators like cats finding the nest. Here, though, they're used to the attention, and in any case I stood well back with the long lens on the camera for this photograph.

I love the way birds use the things we think we built for ourselves.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

09 October 2015


The foxgloves have begun to bolt. They're strikingly graphic plants at most stages of their life history and, even though they're considered weeds, I'd think the place poorer if they weren't here. So too would the bumblebees.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

04 October 2015


It's about time for something awesomely cute.

I photographed this little jumping spider just a few days ago in exactly the same place where I photographed an apparently identical jumping spider in mid December last year (same position on the same fallen tree). It's a reasonably safe bet that it's the same undescribed species. I don't know how long they live or whether it might have survived the winter, but it'd be nice to think this was the same individual.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor