Macauley Island: photo essay

When they arrived back from Macauley Island and its 6.1 earthquake our intrepid land dwellers described it as “heinous” but - letting nothing getting in the way of their dedicated pursuit of scientific discovery - they have created this excellent photo essay to give you a glimpse of life on the island.

The photo essay is courtesy of botanist Peter who you’ll see here also starring as an ornithologist. Macauley might look like a benign golf course but Peter and Warren assure me that the chest-high fern and sedge with a nasty cutting edge made for slow and unpleasant travel, especially as the ground underneath was honeycombed with old bird burrows which kept collapsing (and their legs certainly show the scars!)

Macauley Island: the benign look of a golf course but with hidden depths

Macauley Island: the benign look of a golf course but with hidden depths

The Kermadec poplar was down to a single tree by the time kiore were eradicated, but while that original tree has since died it has been replaced by a number of others.

Kermadec poplars were down to one by the time kiore was eradicated but others have grown in their place

Kermadec poplars were down to one by the time kiore was eradicated but others have grown in their place

Without kiore to eat the seeds, there are ample Kermadec poplar seedlings coming away, and Peter is confident that native forest regeneration will happen of its own accord.

Seed of life: without kiore to eat the seeds these seedlings could be a sign of things to come. Peter predicts native forest regeneration will happen of its own accord

Seed of life: without kiore to eat the seeds these seedlings could be a sign of great things to come. Peter predicts native forest regeneration will happen of its own accord

White-naped petrels breed only on Macauley Island, and while they can’t nest under the thick fern the bare ground under the Kermadec poplars is riddled with their burrows, and their fortunes should improve as the poplar forest spreads.

Macauley exclusive: White-naped petrels breed only on Macauley Island

Macauley exclusive: White-naped petrels breed only on Macauley Island

Here is bird man Peter with a white-naped petrel, showing the white band across its shoulders which gives it its name.

Botanist-turned-birdman: Peter with a white naped petrel

Botanist-turned-birdman: Peter with a white naped petrel on Macauley

And finally a rare high angle view of Haszard Islet, taken from Macauley Island. Crystal clear waters. From this angle there’s nothing “heinous” about it – ah, the joy of a photo essay – all the beauty with none of the intrepid bits.

A rare view: high angle view of Haszard Islet taken from Macauley Island

A rare shot: high angle view of Haszard Islet taken from Macauley Island

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4 Responses to “Macauley Island: photo essay”

  1. Karen

    I’m very excited to see the Kermadec poplar seedings growing on Macauley – great find Peter! And great to see you are really a bird enthusiast too!!

    Karen

    Reply
  2. Maureen Young

    Your comments about the regeneration of Homalanthus on McCauley answers one of my questions. The other is: On Raoul, is the buttercup bush Senna xfloribunda or is it Senna septemtrionalis?

    Maureen

    Reply
    • Melanie

      Hi Maureen – we’ve had a note back from Peter: the Senna is as Bill Sykes records it in Flora IV (Webb et al. 1988) Senna septentrionalis. Incidentally I could not find your marked Adiantum and/or Hypolepis specimens on the Denham Bay Track but I did see young A. Hispidulum that looked very like A. diaphanum (and these required cafreful inspection of the rootstock to make sure they were not A. diaphanum). I did see A. diaphanum on Macauley Island though.

      Reply
  3. Mike Thorsen

    Another interesting suite of observations. How far away from the original tree did the seedlings extend?

    Reply

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