Coast, near Heyders Rd, Trip #46

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For this trip we visited the coast, across from Heyders Road (near Spencer Park). The tide was quite high, so we searched mainly on the dunes and along the strandline (where debris has been left by high tides).

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Strandline.

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Pumice, found washed up in the strandline.

BM has also done several posts for this site, see here and here.

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Fungi

Cup fungi

One find that puzzled us was these flask-like objects, on the back of the fore dunes (so presumably not washed up). NatureWatch came to the rescue, and they were identified as a species of cup fungi, that is associated with marram grass.

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Cup fungi (Peziza sp.).

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Cup fungi (Peziza sp.), after they had been rinsed.

Seaweed

Another item we took a while to figure out turned out to be holdfasts from seaweed.

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Holdfast, from a seaweed.

 

Animals

Springtails

Inside the fungi were some (purple!) springtails.

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Springtails (Subclass Collembola).

Awning Clam

This shell is from an awning clam. It has a distinctive brown covering  (periostracum). This is an organic outer layer that many shelled animals have. It covers the more calcareous shell and is often a distinctive colour and/or texture. The presence of the periostracum facilitates growth of the shell, see here.

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Solemya parkinsonii.

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Inside of Solemya parkinsonii.

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Detail of the inside of Solemya parkinsonii.

Ringed Dosinia

Another shell we found was from a species of Venus clam known as ringed dosinia. These are endemic to New Zealand.

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Ringed Dosinia (Dosinia anus).

Hydrozoa

Attached to this mussel shell was a hydrozoan. These are colonial animals, which we have also seen at the estuary, see here.

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Hydrozoan (Amphisbetia bispinosa).

Spotted Jellyfish

This jellyfish was another interesting find. The clear body with red dots was quite striking. It was moving (just) so we returned it to the water.

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Spotted jellyfish (Desmonema gaudichaudi).

Crabs

A crab was seen moulting – which is how they are able to grow in size, since they have a hard exoskeleton. Several abandoned exoskeletons were also seen.

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Crab exoskeleton.

Sandhopper

The strandline had dozens of the usual sandhoppers, including this one.

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Sandhopper (Bellorchestia quoyana).

Plants

The most common plant on the dunes was probably marram grass, however there were several other species on the front of the fore dunes, including pingao and ice plant. Red-purple groundsel was also present.

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Pingao (Ficinia spiralis).

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Ice plant (Carpobrotus sp.).

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Red-purple ragwort (Senecio elegans).

Also present, though not photographed, was the native spinifex grass – part of a dune restoration project at this site.

 

Our thanks to the folk at NatureWatch for help with identifications.

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High tide and clouds.

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Pattern on the sand.

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Smacks Creek, Trip #45

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Ferns, sedges, cabbage trees and totara, along the waterway at Smacks Creek.

One of our recent trips was to Smacks Creek. There is a project on NatureWatch for Smacks Creek, so we were able to contribute to that.

The creek is a small waterway, upstream of Styx Mill wetland, that ultimately feeds into the Styx River. There is a strip of esplanade reserve along the waterway, between Gardiners Rd and Hussey Road.

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Site location, circled in red.

Willows have been cleared from the site in recent years, and the area has been planted with natives.

The stream at this location is shallow, with a stony substrate. It was fairly swiftly flowing at the time of our visit in July (2017), and the water temperature was ~14oC.

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Smacks Creek with aquatic and riparian vegetation.

There were mayfly larvae in the stream, which implies good water quality.

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Suckergilled mayfly larvae (Deleatidium sp.).

Aquatic plants present  included nitella and potamogeton.

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Nitella hookeri.

The sides of the channel have mosses and liverworts, overtopped by ferns, with trees overhanging the water in some places.

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A moss, Thuidium furfurosum.

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A liverwort?

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Moss leaves (not yet identified).

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Moss capsules.

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Little hard fern (Blechnum penna-marina) and mosses

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A native fern, Hypolepis ambigua.

We searched the leaf litter under some of the native trees. Here we found springtails, slaters, flatworms, millipedes, amphipods, beetles and larvae (of beetles?).

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Pink springtail (Subclass Collembola).

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White springtail (Subclass Collembola).

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Moss (Tortula sp.?) – this is where the pink springtails were.

Slugs are able to move because they have a hydroskeleton. This means their muscles act against a fluid-filled tube down their middle.

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Flatworm (Phylum Platyhelminthes).

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Millipedes.

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Millipede.

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Cosmopolitan ground beetle (Laemostenus complanatus).

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Beetle larvae.

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Beetle larvae.

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Amphipod.

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Snail (Superfamily Punctoidea).

The trees themselves had a high cover of lichens. There were also stumps (presumably for the former willows) that had fungi and lichens living on them.

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Lichens covering a tree.

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Ramalina celastri on a tree

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Ramalina celastri and gold-eye lichen (Teloschistes chrysophthalmus) on a tree.

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Pixie cup lichen (Cladonia sp.).

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Lichen, on the boardwalk.

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Fungi on a tree stump.

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Kaikomako seedling (Pennantia corymbosa).

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Harakeke (Phormium tenax).

Our thanks to the folk at NatureWatch for help with identifications.

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Observing.

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Upcoming Trip: Westlake Reserve

Where: Westlake Reserve, Wigram Road (see maps below)
When: Monday 28 August 2017, 10 am until about 12

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Our meeting location is marked with a red pin on the maps below:

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Suggestions on what to bring:
* Sensible clothing (sturdy footwear, hats etc.)
* Any food or drink you might want
* Camera
* Notebook and pencil(s)
* Observation containers
* Identification books/apps
* Magnifying glass
* Collecting net
* Binoculars
* Suggestions for other locations to visit

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Beach near Spencer Park

Does anyone know what this shell is?????? We don’t.SAM_7319

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Upcoming: Heathcote Quarry Reserve

Where: Heathcote Quarry, from Rockview Place, Mt Pleasant (see maps below)
When: Monday 7 August 2017, 10 am until about 12

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Little hard fern (Blechnum penna-marina).

Our meeting location is marked with a red pin on the maps below:

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Suggestions on what to bring:
* Sensible clothing (sturdy footwear, hats etc.)
* Any food or drink you might want
* Camera
* Notebook and pencil(s)
* Observation containers
* Identification books/apps
* Magnifying glass
* Collecting net
* Binoculars
* Suggestions for other locations to visit

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Beach near Spencer Park

SAM_7273 This is a shell that we saw at the beach yesterday.

 

 

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Upcoming: Coast, near Spencer Park

Where: Spencer Park, eastern end of Heyders Road (see maps below)
When: Monday 31 July, 10 am until about 12

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Pingao, a native sedge that grows on dunes.

Our meeting location is marked with a red pin on the maps below:

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Suggestions on what to bring:
* Sensible clothing (sturdy footwear, hats etc.)
* Any food or drink you might want
* Camera
* Notebook and pencil(s)
* Observation containers
* Identification books/apps
* Magnifying glass
* Collecting net
* Binoculars
* Suggestions for other locations to visit

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