Golf course bio-blitzed

FINDING A HABITAT NETWORK: Tim and Isla Salmond search for life in the Poverty Bay golf course lake. Pictures by Liam Clayton
Leo Andrews takes a close look through a magnifying glass to see what's living on a tree.
Seton McKinnon and Charlie Jacobs help by the lake.
LUNCH TIME: Poverty Bay Golf Club course superintendent Jimmy Walker took this picture of the club’s resident NZ falcon/karearea enjoying its lunch this week.

DOZENS of insects and spiders and a special visit from a rare NZ falcon/karearea were the highlights of a community bioblitz at the Poverty Bay Golf Club.

About 40 people turned out including young and old, and several families, in the event on Sunday organised between the golf club, Department of Conservation and Tairawhiti Environment Centre.

They made 122 observations of 92 different species, using the Naturewatch online tool, designed to promote citizen science.

DoC community engagement supervisor Charles Barrie said they were happy with how the event went.

“Everyone was engaged and we had some really good feedback.

“We found a katipo spider in the dunes just outside the golf course, saw bellbirds, tui, heron, and lots of different insects and spiders.

“It was interesting to see the exotic species co-existng with native. There was a lot more biodiversity than I thought we would find.

“It confirmed to many of us the golf course is part of the wider Tairawhiti habitat network.”

Following the bioblitz was a free golf lesson and a discussion about what more the club could do to enhance biodiversity.

General ideas included better pest management, especially around the wetland areas, more monitoring of karearea, more opportunities for volunteers, and more native plant species.

PBGC manager Dave Keown said the bioblitz was “fantastic”.

“The feedback was really good, and the intrigue into what we want to do in the future and ideas threw around was really beneficial.

“We recognise the benefit of making the course more biodiverse, and a lot who came along realised what a fabulous piece of green space the club is. To a degree we are guardians of that space.”

The club had future plans to replant some areas.

“Now we are looking at native trees and things to enhance habitat.”

It was good for golfers and environmentalists to come together and learn about each others’ spaces, he said.

“It is a bit outside the box for our people, but then the same for the other people coming along. It was good to bring everyone together.”

The bioblitz data was recorded at http://naturewatch.org.nz/projects/poverty-bay-golf-club-bioblitz-2017

DOZENS of insects and spiders and a special visit from a rare NZ falcon/karearea were the highlights of a community bioblitz at the Poverty Bay Golf Club.

About 40 people turned out including young and old, and several families, in the event on Sunday organised between the golf club, Department of Conservation and Tairawhiti Environment Centre.

They made 122 observations of 92 different species, using the Naturewatch online tool, designed to promote citizen science.

DoC community engagement supervisor Charles Barrie said they were happy with how the event went.

“Everyone was engaged and we had some really good feedback.

“We found a katipo spider in the dunes just outside the golf course, saw bellbirds, tui, heron, and lots of different insects and spiders.

“It was interesting to see the exotic species co-existng with native. There was a lot more biodiversity than I thought we would find.

“It confirmed to many of us the golf course is part of the wider Tairawhiti habitat network.”

Following the bioblitz was a free golf lesson and a discussion about what more the club could do to enhance biodiversity.

General ideas included better pest management, especially around the wetland areas, more monitoring of karearea, more opportunities for volunteers, and more native plant species.

PBGC manager Dave Keown said the bioblitz was “fantastic”.

“The feedback was really good, and the intrigue into what we want to do in the future and ideas threw around was really beneficial.

“We recognise the benefit of making the course more biodiverse, and a lot who came along realised what a fabulous piece of green space the club is. To a degree we are guardians of that space.”

The club had future plans to replant some areas.

“Now we are looking at native trees and things to enhance habitat.”

It was good for golfers and environmentalists to come together and learn about each others’ spaces, he said.

“It is a bit outside the box for our people, but then the same for the other people coming along. It was good to bring everyone together.”

The bioblitz data was recorded at http://naturewatch.org.nz/projects/poverty-bay-golf-club-bioblitz-2017

Resident falcon shows no mercy

POVERTY Bay Golf Club course superintendent Jimmy Walker was eating his lunch when the club’s resident NZ falcon/karearea landed a few feet away from him.

“It pulled a few chicks out of a nest and started munching away. It was kind of brutal,” Mr Walker said.

He quickly took a few photos of the unique occasion.

Karearea have been seen around the course for the past few years and Mr Walker said this was likely a falcon that had made the course home.

As they are very territorial, there may only be one or two there — a male and female.

“It is pretty special for us to have a bird like that here.”

The karearea is found only in New Zealand.

Having evolved in a largely forested landscape it has developed a body shape that optimises its ability to hunt in this environment.

Karearea are regarded as one of New Zealand’s most spectacular birds.

They can fly at speeds of over 100 kilometres an hour and can catch prey much larger than themselves.

Karearea is one of only four forest falcons out of a total of 38 species of falcons worldwide.

While the southern form is classed as “threatened - nationally vulnerable”, bush and Eastern forms are “at risk - recovering”.

They have adapted to pine forest environments and their nests are often found in forestry plantations.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.