Marlborough Mid-Week : September 10th 2014
12 MARLBOROUGH MIDWEEK, SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 NEWS Luxury is a week of warm weather Leona Plaisier LEONA'S LIFE August was such a busy month I’m not even sure what was happening at the start of the month – it seems like too long ago! I think I might have been at home for the second week at least, when Jess Holan and Laura Williams (part of the summer research team on Macquarie Island when I was there) visited us at Tui [Nature Reserve]. It was pretty weird to see friends at your own home when up until then you’ve only ever seen them either on a sub-Antarctic island or in Tasmania. It was nice to have most of that week off, enjoying some sunlight. I did some fishing and my sister Esmae and I also went hunting and almost had a deer. If only we had stopped to listen rather than trundle onwards. It’s been luxurious having some warm weather again, feeling the awesomely-blazing summer heat of New Zealand has always seemed rather distant. Kendall Carlin, a volunteer at Tui who also works for Wildlife Protection Services, and I headed off to the Bottle Rock project out in the Queen Charlotte Sound. We’ve been working in this area for almost three weeks, helping set up gear, while I have also been working with the dogs on the islands – Long and Motuara Islands on this occasion. A chopper flew in for one days’ work hauling up the loads of traps and stations onto the lines up the hill on Bottle Rock. After running down my line and emptying the heli nets, I joined the others at the Good day: Leona Plaisier with her dogs Chase and Bail on Long Island. loading site on the beach. After a few more loads the chop- per was getting ready to leave. Kendall and I still had a few hours work ahead of us so I took the opportunity to use the longdrop at the campsite. A rare commodity in the bush! This long-drop’s door has always had issues, and that day I just couldn’t be bothered, so I left it wide open just for a few seconds – nice view of the bay in front. But, to my horror I could hear the chopper soar into the air as it flew parallel with the coast for a few seconds – straight into clear view of the long-drop’s open door. I moved pretty quickly to get out of that awkward situation! Unfortunately there were more uncomfortable situations to come. When starting out at Long Island I realised I had left my radio on the boat that had just dropped me off, and realising there was no fresh water on the island. Luckily I was able to I called up the office and they got the the boat to drop off my radio and some water. I continued my hunt for rodents on the west coast of the island. It is rugged in places, and with the tide quite low I was able to get round most of it. Once in a while I had to take my boots off, but then I came to one deep corner. I couldn’t go up, and I really didn’t want to go back. There was substantial cursing as I realised I had to strip off and jump in. With three boats just outside the marine reserve fishing, it was all going to be witnessed. The water was quite warm and it was sunny, and thankfully, all my gear stayed dry. However I was trying to figure out why my line of work involved getting mussel scratches in places you just shouldn’t get them. Photo: LEONA PLAISIER Next up was Motuara Island for the weekend, which was beautiful as always. There was great birdsong from the robins, saddleback and bellbird, especially in the morning. If you haven’t already been there, I would recommend this time of year to check it out. Check for rats or mice in your gear or boat before getting on. In all there were a few valuable lessons learnt – close the longdrop door, no matter what! Remember to take water to an island, don’t leave your radio on the boat and bring your swimsuit, just in case. Mumsand babes take refuge in safe havens After a little break the staff at Dolphin Watch &Nature Tours are back to tell us about life in the Marlborough Sounds during spring. A bottlenose dolphin gave birth to a calf in the Picton Marina last week. Although not yet identified, it Produced by CHESS The Musical The Wairau River Wines season of Music by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus Lyrics by Tim Rice Based on an idea by Tim Rice th & 17th Book now at PICTON 94.7 BLENHEIM 92.9 KAIKOURA 89.9 Oct 16-25 OCT * n/a group discount Ph 520 8560 www.ticketdirect.co.nz www.mex.co.nz MARLBOROUGH CIVIC THEATRE is believed the dolphin could be well-known local, Woody, or one of her previous calves following in her mother’s footsteps. Mum and calf were then spot- ted in the Waikawa Marina, where they had been joined by another dolphin and newborn calf. This behaviour is not unusual for a female dolphin, as finding a quiet and safe haven clear of predators is imperative when giving birth. Leaving the main pod for a while, pregnant female dolphins and their female relatives often find a quiet spot to give birth and assist each other. Once the young have been Yum: A bottlenose dolphin munches on a blue cod in the Marlborough Sounds. born and can manage breathing at the surface, the ‘‘nursery pod’’ will rejoin the main pod. This main pod has been a group of about 30 bottlenose dolphins that has been spotted all over the Marlborough Sounds. Feasting on fish, the pod has been delighting boaties galore. The dusky dolphins are also still around in small pods close to Picton and the common dolphins have been just outside the Sounds towards Port Underwood. Not to be forgotten, spring also sees the little blue penguins begin to lay their eggs, along Photo: AILIE SUZUKI with many of the perching birds such as bellbird and saddleback. With the new generation arriving, we are looking forward to our daily tours starting again for the season. As our staff return from around the world we can’t wait to get back on the water and share our stunning backyard with visitors. As usual, conservation is our motivation so watch our Facebook page at naturetours. co.nz for our latest projects, how you can be involved and of course, the latest news from the water.
September 3rd 2014
September 17th 2014