Saturday, December 31, 2016

Farewell to 2016

The last day of the year again! How do 365 days go so quickly? I barely got into double figures for blog posts this year yet not sure where the extra time went to. It seems to be a sign of the times and my resolution for 2017 is to smooth the chaos and make every day count. Wish me luck!!

I've had a busy December working at Stewart Island Lodge; early starts mean that I hear the glorious dawn chorus as I'm getting ready for work. Last week's sun rise was at 5.49am and I was in bed before the sun set at 9.42pm, no wonder kiwi are seen occasionally during the day as there's less than 6 hours of darkness in December. I've heard 6 kiwi calls since Christmas Eve - a duet at 4.36am, a duet the following night at 10.57pm, a female call 3 days later and another at 2.38am this morning. There were small kiwi-like prints on the drive so perhaps there's a wee one exploring with its Mum.

A sunny evening in Paradise

Stewart Island Lodge at the top of the picture
I've spent more time down at the wharf this month; I don't usually meet the Lodge guests but I had to pick up a radiator key that was being sent over on the 5pm ferry from Bluff so went down early and took photos...

Ferry arriving from Bluff

The Foveaux Express coming in to dock
The conditions were a lot calmer than on Tuesday this week when gale force winds forced the cancellation of the afternoon's ferries from Bluff and from the island. Accommodation is always tight between Christmas and New Year so it was extra-challenging finding beds for all the visitors that were stranded. Everyone that I was involved with took it in their stride though and came out to breakfast the next morning with smiles on their faces.

I've been reading lots of good books lately - hmm, maybe that's why I haven't been blogging!! Will post some reviews when I have time. Eleven years ago I did a 'New Zealand Native Plants' course by correspondence and that one semester paper changed my life. The evidence that we are damaging our Mother Earth for future generations of ALL species is hard to ignore and I think that 2017 will be a pivotal year; are we prepared to change our habits and work toward a more sustainable future? Let's hope so.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Summer serenity

The tourist season is getting into its stride and I am enjoying sharing my backyard with the guests staying at my workplace, Stewart Island Lodge. My first visit to Rakiura in 2009 is vividly etched on my memory and I hope all visitors leave happy and relaxed and with fond memories of this extra-special place.

Above and below: Early morning panorama from the Lodge deck

I haven't had a lot of time for slow walks lately so it's nice to have long, sunny evenings to go orchid-hunting. Most of the spider orchids have finished their flowering although my special clump has lasted longer than most...

...and now it's the time for the greenhoods, Pterostylis, and the bamboo orchid, Earina mucronata

Pterostylis in flower on the roadside bank near home

View from the top

Close-up of Pterostylis flower
The Aporostylis, Caladenia and Drymoanthus are budding up and there's a miniature forest of sun orchid, Thelymitra, appearing - they usually flower in January but the seasons seem to be mixed up - no doubt I'll be posting photos as soon as they are out! My large patch of green bird orchids, Chiloglottis, were a bit displaced by kiwi probe holes a couple of months ago; there must have been a lot of juicy worms there.

My last photo was my attempt to go 'arty'. I was walking past the Cenotaph when I noticed a wee poppy flowering among the rocks - it must have seeded from the ones planted last season.