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Twas the Week Before Christmas

This year Iris & I seem to have all our Christmas Ducks well in line, and without too much stress. We’ve been quite busy with guests, and the weather has been warm and dry. In fact very dry at 39.1 mm to date for December, where normally we would expect at least double that.



Sails Ashore Stewart Island tours

Two Pigeons in a Kowhai Tree
Pigeons enjoying lunch and a cooling shower from our lawn sprinkler

Watering Our Garden

Last summer we had to cart water for our garden, but started almost too late. This year I started as soon as we noticed dry patches on our lawn, and so far I’ve pumped around 12000 litres, the equivalent of around 50 mm of rain. And of course today it has been raining. But with only 12 mm recorded it’s done not much more than wash off the dust.


Thelymitra aff longifolia
White sun orchid in Kowhai Lane Garden. These delicate blooms are very frustrating, as they generally open for a very short time, sometimes less than a couple of hours



Gastrodia minor   (I think)
Black (Potato) orchid on a stump in Kowhai lane Garden. Last year we didn’t find a single black orchid. This year we found 5, and all G. minor, rather than the normal G longcolumn



Pterostylis bluff   
I found this P bluff on the side of the track on Ulva Island, the first one I’ve seen there although they are quite common on the road sides around the village.



Winika cunninghamii
Ladies Slipper Orchids are well out this year, with lots of blooms. But about 3 weeks earlier than I would expect. Last year I found 5 blooms



Aporostylis bifolia
Odd leafed orchids have been very sparse this year, with only a handful of blooms, non of which lasted more than a couple of days



Chiloglottis cornuta
There is one really good patch of Green Bird Orchids on the back road. And they are well in flower. The few plants I know of on Ulva don’t seem likely to flower at all


Early Summer Orchids

Orchids this year have been quite erratic, with some flowering well, and many others not so good, and for only a short time. I suspect last summers drought, and a lower than normal rainfall subsequently may well have had an effect. Last year for example I failed to find a single Longcolumn Black, and this year the same. But I’ve found 5 of what I think are G minor, the first for several years.


Kiwi in the Village

We’ve been showing our guests where they might find kiwi. And they have been very successful, with only a couple of “failures”

This video was kindly sent to me by two of our guests. They saw 2 birds, and obviously fighting. Kiwi are very territorial, and fights are common.

They told me there were several folk watching, all very quiet and still, and one had a red torch … essential, as kiwi react badly to bright lights.