Flora & Fauna

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Vigilance urged on toxic weed found near coastline

People are encouraged to report sightings of sea spurge, an invasive weed that grows just above the high tide mark on some of our beaches. It arrived from Australia by sea and was first spotted in NZ in 2012. Here is a recent article about it. You can find photos on the NZPCN website.

Please contact your local regional council if you see any.

Our database has many articles about it if you want to know more detail.

Vote for the endangered banded dotterel/pohowera

Photo by Neil Fitzgerald, by Neil Fitzgerald,

Vote for the banded dotterel / Pohowera, which is in serious trouble. VOTING IS NOW CLOSED. We’ll try again next year!

Threats to this cute little coastal bird include:

* Human disturbance including vehicle and foot damage to nests, which are almost impossible to spot on the beach, and general interference.

Photo by Karen OpiePhoto by Karen Opie* Predation, especially during nesting by mammal pests and gulls.

* Invasive plants like marram grass, lupins and wilding pines, can degrade nesting areas

Photo by Karen OpiePhoto by Karen Opie

If you want to give it the best chance of winning this competition, ONLY vote for this bird. Make sure you validate your vote by entering the code or it won’t count!

Watch a lovely video about the banded dotterels of Kaikōura here.

Photos: top: adult in breeding plumage, middle: juvenile, bottom: eggs in ‘nest’.

Beach Creatures

You may have seen this before, but it is amazing art that walks over the beaches of the Netherlands. The music added makes it extra special. Enjoy!

Artist, Theo Jansen, dreams of developing one to such an extent that it lives by itself on the beach after he dies. Considering that they are mostly made from PVC piping, that is not a good idea.

Large katipō population found on Marlborough beach

A large population of the endangered katipō has been found on Marfells Beach, Marlborough.

Interestingly they’ve been finding them in the native vegetation but not in marram grass. Another reason to restore dunes to their native state.

Read the full story

Skinks prefer dunes with diving petrel burrows

black circles = dunes with burrows, white circles = withoutblack circles = dunes with burrows, white circles = withoutOur 2016 scholarship recipient Johannes Fischer has published another paper in relation to his diving petrel research. This time he compared the occurrence of skinks in dunes with and without diving petrel burrows.

Two skinks were surveyed: the Stewart Island green skink (Oligosoma aff. chloronoton) and the southern grass skink (O. aff. polychroma). Both skinks are more common in the dunes with burrows. However the difference was more pronounced with the Stewart Island green skink. If one of them was present, the other one was less likely to be there too. The larger size of the Stewart Island green skink could explain the different results. It likely outcompetes the southern grass skink.

Read the full paper.