We are fortunate to share our environment with many wonderful birds and insects, plus amphibians, fish, mammals and reptiles.

Help to create a nature diary by sharing your insights and observations about the flora and fauna found in our gardens, bush walks, and shores. 

Ruru (top of Airlie Road May 2013) Friends of Mana Island (FOMI) Shore Plover (Plimmerton 2011)

To find out more about our wildlife and local habitats visit these links:

The National Beekeepers' Association of NZ has a very good website for information regarding beneficial plants for bees. See their website.

Bee Friendly Plants A3 Poster Web Version


IMG 2364RedAdmiralCropResiz

Photo by Sandy Werner - posted 22 September 2014

The NZ Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa gonerilla) endemic to NZ. The Māori name is kahukura which means red cloak. Seen in the garden now feeding on plum flower nectar.


Story from Kapi-Mana News 18 February 2014 pg 9 - by Kris Dando

Butterfly carries regal charm.

Ursula Baldwin is a big fan of monarchs, but the ones she prefers live in her porch rather than Windsor Castle.

The Titahi Bay resident, with the help of her children, has been doing her small bit to help the monarch butterfly population for the past three summers.

In her back garden she has swan plants, which attract caterpillars that eventually become chrysalises.

The chrysalises are carefully transferred to a specially created tower in Ms Baldwin's sheltered porch and, about this time of year, monarchs emerge. Last week, she had 60 chrysalises ready to hatch.

Ms Baldwin is aiding, rather than manipulating, the process. It was also a valuable life education tool for her children, she said.

"After not seeing monarchs around for ages, I started to find the caterpillars on the ground everywhere and after doing some research, found out they are disappearing.

"I've started small and it's become something that's really important to me."

Having about 50 monarchs fly around her in Kura Park last year was an amazing moment in her life, she said.

This time of year is important and Ms Baldwin is always hopeful of seeing dozens of chrysalises on the swan plants. She said 20 per cent would not make it to become butterflies, but she was helping the odds by providing a sheltered porch.

She has become an expert on the subject of monarchs and has even devoted a Facebook page to her passion - search for Ursula's Monarchs.

"They're an amazing creature and I just want to help as many survive as I can."

Facts about the monarch:

  • Mating period: mid-summer, takes 1 month from egg to adult
  • Lifespan: up to 8 months
  • Wingspan: 85-110mm
  • Enemies: wasp, soldier bug and praying mantis
  • Travel: in the US, monarchs travel thousands of kilometres to hibernate
  • Speed: can travel up to 40kmh
  • Came: may have been pre-European in NZ, but introduction of swan plants brought big numbers
  • Found: anywhere in NZ, usually in warmer urban areas
  • Magical monarchs: Monarch butterflies can live up to eight months.

A 'prawn star' in Plimmerton. (Our clever newsletter editor, Carolyn Williams, gets the credit for that one.)

Welcome Sebparri - your new neighbourhood crustacean.

A new species of marine crustacean of the group Tanaidacea has been found off the shore near Plimmerton and Worser Bay (Wellington). This is a tiny Tanaids a small, shrimp-like creature about 1.5mm long and according to its discoverer, Dr Graham Bird, it is attractive and adds new diversity to the group and a new genus.

Dr Bird, a Waikanae taxonomist and a biologist who specializes in the classification of organisms into groups on the basis of their structure and origin and behaviour, auctioned the naming rights for the new species on Trademe. The auction raised $510 for the Paraparaumu Boys College 1st hockey team to attend a September tournament in Auckland.

The winner of the auction, on Trademe, was Sebastian Parri of Christchurch who has chosen to name the new Plimmerton shrimp 'Sebparri'.

According to Dr Bird the example D above is the closest to the newly named Sebparri. So if you see one or two floating past you when swimming off Plimmerton this summer welcome it to the neighbourhood.

Story by Allan Dodson. References - Dominion Post 18 & 21 August 2012.


Names: Long-tailed cuckoo or Koekoeā

Unfortunately this bird didn't survive its collision with the window at 64 Cluny Rd.

Diet: Large invertebrates, lizards, birds, chicks, eggs, berries & fruit [i]

Photo taken by Heather Goode, December 2011.

See NZ Birds Online click here.


Text and photo by Taffy Parry - added 27 October 2012

The shining cuckoo although it's back it didn't stay long for a nice shot. You can hear it singing a repetitous song down in the Airlie Rd valley trying to attract an unwary warbler to give its nesting address away...

See NZ Birds Online click here.

Read more about the pipiwharauroa/shining cuckoo. Click here.

Photo and text by Taffy Parry

Photo of a juvenile shining cuckoo with its surrogate mother, the grey warbler.

Taken in November 2011 at the top of Airlie Road, Plimmerton.

A couple of months ago when notice went out regarding the long tailed cuckoo visiting Plimmerton I had taken this photo of the shining cuckoo. I took it in Nov but forgot about it primarily as it was of poor definition due mainly I think to the wind which was blowing the birds around and in opposite directions at the same time.

Anyway, you can see that the cuckoo had dropped its egg into the grey warblers nest which was following it almost as if caring for a spoilt child and feeding it when ever it stopped.

The cuckoos are notorious for flying into windows one had done so a few years ago here and I had frozen it immediately and the Te Papa taxidermist has done a good job on it as I am sure that is the one on display. You will not hear them from now on since they migrate to the warmer climate of the islands for winter.

Photo by Taffy Parry

Dolphins at the Paremata bridge, 20 November 2011.

Read more about their visit on GOPI's site.


Photos and text by Taffy Parry - added 14/10/2012. More about Taffy.



These fidgeting Eastern Rosellas were finding it hard to balance on the swaying branches outside my home in Airlie Rd this morning. The photo was taken through a window it really is a compliment to Canon that it can achieve all this on automatic. All I have to do is point and shoot! Although I confess I just think that I am so lucky having natures aviary on my doorstep.


Photo by Murry Cave - added 8/09/2012
Orange pore fungi growing on a rotten log at the top of Cluny Road.
See more photos by Murry Cave at his website: www.murrycavephotography.co.nz 
Photographed at Plimmerton – brown gecko – photos by Rosemary O’Hara, March 2014  


Read more about the riroriro/grey warbler. Click here. 

Photo by Taffy Parry

Photo of a grey warbler

Taken today, 7 March 2012. You get an idea of its size when compared to the leaf...

Thriving menace or declining species? Story from Kapi-Mana News, 29 Oct 2013 pg 18.

Photos of our local red billed and black backed gulls. Contributing photographers are Taffy Parry and Murry Cave.

Red billed gull

Photo by Taffy Parry, added 10/09/2012

"So you think the wind was a bit strong eh?"

Photo by Taffy Parry, August 2012

"A rather interesting bird appeal."


Photo by Murry Cave, added 3/09/12
Red billed gull stretching, east of fire station.
Photo by Murry Cave, added 3/09/12
Red billed gull after stealing biscuit from kids, just east of fire station.

Black backed gull

Photo by Murry Cave, added 3/09/12
Black backed gull juvenile in flight, close to the houses on the seaward side of the parade.
Photo by Murry Cave, added 3/09/12
Black backed gulls adults, on the rocks north of the fire station.


White Faced Heron

Photo by Murry Cave - added 7/09/12
White faced heron with crab, pool area just east of fire station.


Photo and text by Taffy Parry

Posted 8 February 2013.

"Say cheese and start the day with a smile."


Photo and text by Taffy Parry.

Added 9 December 2012.

Guess who called in for an Xmas drink?

Photo and text by Taffy Parry.

Added 20 August 2012.

The Kaka has been a regular but lonely visitor to my home for the past six years or more and I have enjoyed his company sometimes for upwards of three and four weeks at a time and then he would disappear. Imagine my surprise and delight when he appeared squawking and chatting away, something he would not usually do, with his girl friend. He was obviously very proud and the little pecks they shared were very loving. So there we are Plimmertonians keep a look out for your new neighbours and a quiet eye on the cats.

Read more about the kaka. Click here.

Photo and text from Taffy Parry, July 2012

Plimmerton residents might like to  keep an eye out for this Kaka. It is unbanded and has been a constant visitor to my garden. I first saw it in 1994 (I assume it's the same one) in the rural area of Airlie Rd. Just wondering if other residents have sighted him and where? Another interesting natural note is that the kowhai is in full flower about 2 months early....


Find out how to participate - see The Great Kereru Count website. If you live in Plimmerton or Cambourne let us know plimmertonra@gmail.com and we'll post how many kereru living locally as well. Send us your photos too and we'll post them here.  

Text and Photos by Taffy Parry

I started noticing them in Airlie Rd valley about 1992. Over the years I counted eight once but the population seems to be around three to four. Unfortunately,  I know of three that have met their death by flying into windows.

During the mating season you will see them chasing one another around or sitting next to one another on thin branches pushing the one on the outside nearer and nearer the end until it falls off to fly away . They also enjoy swooping down into the valleys and pulling up hard almost into a stall before gliding off again.


I find that they are quite easy to approach and do not take fright easily and as they are quite large one can enjoy the results of a good camera.


other name: wood pigeon

photo of: three wood pigeons in an old paulownia tree (60 Cluny Rd)                     

what they eat: fruit/drupes 

vegetation nearby: several Kohekohe trees on the street filled with drupes and other trees beginning to flower

It's mid June and they are swooping through the trees often seen perching together on nearby branches.

photo by Sandy Werner, May 2010



Photo by Murry Cave, added 7 September 2012

Kingfisher on the rocks at fire station.


Text provided by Linda Kerkmeester

A friend alerted me to a visitor to Karehana Park on Thursday evening (5 April 2012).  It was a white heron - Kotuku!  These are known to fly south to Okarito on the NZ west coast where there is a breeding colony.  I have also seen them on the Waikanae estuary where they hang out on the branches of trees that have been washed down the river or from the incoming tide.  But never have I seen one in Plimmerton till now!
In the photo it is eating a small eel that came up the drain to the park. 

Photo taken by Kirsten Walsh


Photo by Taffy Parry, added July 2012


FOMI Press Release



Read more about the korimako/bellbird. Click here.

Text and photo by Mike Barry

Had a new visitor to my bird feeders this morning (1 May 2012). The first time I have seen them in the valley!!!!


In Plimmerton, in Plimmerton,
The little penguins play,
And one dead albatross was found
At Karehana Bay.

In Plimmerton, in Plimmerton,
The seabirds haunt the cave,
And often in the summertime
The penguins ride the wave.

In Plimmerton, in Plimmerton,
The penguins live, they say,
But one dead albatross they found
At Karehana Bay.

Dennis Glover, 1964


Comment from Brian McKeon 65d Steyne Avenue
added 25 January 2013

I should like to have reports about sightings (or notable lack of sightings or sounds) of Little Blue Penguins in the past few months.

Some years ago a group of local women planted native shrubs and installed Penguin nesting boxes on the banks of the Taupo Stream adjacent to the rail and road bridges encouraged by evidence of bird activity in that area. About three years ago birds come up the Taupo Stream, spurning the boxes but settling under other structures. Since then, not a sound or sight.

Has there been a decline in the general population of the Penguin?

Please send responses to plimmertonra@gmail.com to be posted here.


Just to let you know I saw a blue penguin a week ago (28 Jan 2013) while I was kayaking out to Mana Island about 2km off the coast.

Kind regards,

Koen De Ridder



Just advising that we saw a penguin come ashore between the rocks opposite 23 Moana Road, just south of the parking area last night (11 February 2013) about 9:30pm. Not sure if it was a Little Blue or not, but it looked like the photo on the website.


Kris Gough




Orca3Nov2015 Orca2Nov2015

Thanks to Jane Mather for sending photos to Kapi-Mana News, who have shared them on Facebook.

Orca were seen swimming near the Plimmerton Boating Club at about 1.30pm, Tues 1 December 2015.

Jane said there was a mum, dad and baby and they all came close into the shore at Karehana Bay.


Other names: Killer whale, Orcinus orca (Linnaeus, 1758)

Photos of: Orcas in Plimmerton 1 March 2012.

More about orcas: They are in the dolphin family and were most likely dinning on the stingray ... http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/orcas/1

Photos by: S Werner

1 March 2012. What a thrill to see this pod along our coast. People lined the shore in the rain to watch them.



Sighted 22 May 2011

Photos by: Murray Bloxham

Photos of Orcas in Plimmerton 22 May 2011.

22 May 2011. Many people were fortunate to see the orcas in the water off Karehana Bay.


If anyone would like to add some information about the orca's habits, etc. Please send info to plimmertonra@gmail.com

A downy fairy prion chick. The birds moved in January 2015 were all more advanced than this. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Read Te Papa's Blog - A box of fluffy birds...


Fairy prions find home on Mana Island. Kapi-Mana story 27 January 2015 pg18.

Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner has welcomed the introduction this month of 100 fairy prion chicks to Mana Island.

"Fairy prions are a keystone species for island ecosystems," she said.

"The fairy prions will provide a crucial boost to Mana Island's ecosystem and I look forward to hearing about the success of these birds making the predator-free island their home."

The translocation project is a community partnership between the Department of Conservation, Friends of Mana Island, Ngati Koata, and sponsors OMV.

Mana Island is a scientific reserve managed by DOC.

"This is another example of the Department of Conservation successfully partnering with organisations and volunteers who have a shared vision for conservation of our natural resources. The chicks arrived at Mana Island and were transferred to their specially constructed nesting houses, which will help them settle into their new home.

"The project will involve 200 fairy prion chicks being moved from Stephens Island in the Marlborough Sounds to Mana Island, 100 now and another 100 in 2016."

The fairy prion is one of New Zealand's most abundant seabirds.

They are commonly seen in exposed coastal waters in New Zealand and in the south-west Pacific region.

"Thousands of volunteer hours have been spent planting over 500,000 trees, raising funds, installing nest boxes, monitoring birds, and removing weeds from the island. I commend the volunteers on their efforts to make this translocation possible."


Photos and text by Brian McKeon

These pictures may bring some
seasonal cheer to viewers:
a cluster of native orchids
photographed 26 July 2012
on the stepped portion
of the track which runs from
Reserve Road to The Track in
Karehana Scenic Reserve.

Variable Oystercatcher

Photo by Murry Cave - added 7/09/12
Variable oystercatcher just north of fire station.

Photos and story by Sandra Werner - posted 16 May 2013.

The Parapara tree also called the bird-catching tree - Pisonia brunoniana.

When I read about the Parapara tree a few months ago in Nicola Toki's blog, I never thought that I would have such a tree in my garden - lo and behold I do. I brushed up against it last week and had several small oblong shaped ripe sticky black fruits (that contain the seed) firmly embedded in the fabric of my trousers. Upon closer inspection of the tree I noticed bees, spiders, mosquitoes stuck in either dead or dying. I went back to Nicola's article and realized what it was and promptly removed the troublesome sticky fruit.

Read about it on Nicola Toki's blog site - In Our Nature





The discovery inspired a little poem and a drawing below.

Trousers and attention caught
What is this tree that has me?
I am not its first today
Mime the spiders and the bees
All too stuck to break away
All too stuck to flee
Its name and game revealed and thwarted
The Parapara fruits extorted
With a swift chop to its chin
The Piwakawaka and Ruru win
A close eye sits on the rest
For who can tell what purpose left
In leaves, trunk and branches.




An unfortunate bee is seen here, lured in by the ripe sticky fruit, becomes a lure itself for our insect loving birds. 


Trousers and attention caught

What is this tree that has me?



Photo and text by Taffy Parry

Fantail in the kowhai tree

The cheeky fantail is probably amongst the most inquisitive and chirping little birds we have, as a short walk in the bush is bound to attract these little engaging birds attention. Whether this is just curiosity or whether they are attracted by the flies we disturb is open to conjecture but it's really worth observing them as their flying and acrobatic ability is second to none.

Other names: piwakawaka, tiwakawaka, grey fantail, pied fantail

More info NZ Birds.


Plimmerton has several plovers, the rare shore plover and the more common spur winged plover.


Photo by Murry Cave - added 7/09/2012

Spur winged plover on the rocks at fire station.


Text and photo by Sandra Werner

I had the great good fortune of witnessing the praying mantis life cycle in my garden starting back in May 2011 when I watched one lay its egg case on a metal porch railing. Three months later the nymphs emerged, tiny and perfect, hanging out mostly on basil plants. They also appeared on a hebe where I think they spent most of their time catching and feeding on insects.

My love affair with them diminished slightly when I observed them catching and eating honey bees. I had read that they didn't discriminate between eating pesty insects like flies and mosquitoes and beneficial insects like lady bugs but it was still somewhat disturbing to witness them consuming honey bees.

In March they developed wings and became very interested in each other. According to the literature they only live eight months. It's May 2012 and I haven't seen them in the garden... until...


... the nymphs emerge from their egg case, 22 - 24 September 2012.

From the 22nd - 24th of September 2012 at around 9am and lasting for about an hour each morning, a total of around 20 or so nymphs emerged from their egg case on my cement step. And so begins another cycle.

Our native praying mantis is being pushed out and threatened by the recently accidentally introduced South African or Springbok Mantis. Ours is ALWAYS green and has blue spots on its forearms. Read more to learn the differences between ours and the invasive pest.

Photo and story by Taffy Parry - posted 16 May 2013.
Well entertaining my guests is not hard, not too long ago a Kaka and Tommy Tui disputing their shared territory entertained three German visitors on the decking as the sun settled for the night, now with winter upon us I didn't expect any more help but surprise surprise one of three young Welsh and Irish visitors yelped when she saw a large bird dive at the dining room window to capture a moth. It was a morepork, who stayed around for about 10 minutes whilst all conversation was directed his way. Thanks for calling by it will be an evening experience which will not be forgotten in a hurry.
to whit to woe
he refused to turn his brake lights off..!



Learn more about the Ruru - click here.
Meet Whisper on youtube.

Photo and text by Sandy Werner

Names: Scorpion-tailed spider, tailed forest spider, Arachnura feredayi

Of the 13 species in this genus only one is native to NZ.  The species shown here, according to DOC, is the one found in NZ.

Photo:  Female scorpion-tailed spider with her eggs vertically above her, 60 Cluny Rd, January 2012.

Photo by Murry Cave - added 3/09/12
Fur seal juvenile, at fire station.


The following photos and text sent by Sue Rose June 2012.

This time of year (June 2012) these young seal pups have been known to come ashore to rest especially after heavy seas. Please keep a cautious watch when driving since they are also on the road. Here are photos taken 25 May and 3 June. There was one by the firestation on 25 May (dead on the rocks the next day) and one on 3rd June (seen swimming away from the beach after a few hours rest!)

More from Sue... I always remember one night we had been out to a function and dropped a friend home around Karehana Bay - as we came around the bend before Karehana there appeared to be a sack or some debris on the road.  I stopped and put my light on full and the "sack" lifted its head.   It was a small seal having a rest from a heavy sea.   I got out and shooed it off the road.   It would have been so easy to hit it - especially someone speeding and not taking enough notice or care.  I always think about that and hope that people are careful and aware of the wildlife that we are sharing Plimmerton with.

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Photo © Taffy Parry  

Little Shag also known as little black cormorant

Photo and text by Taffy Parry - posted 8 June 2013
A flock of about 50 birds has been seen following schools of fish in the shallows around Plimmerton and Paremata.

One person had seen them being ambushed by seagulls literally taking the silver fish they had caught from their beaks. Keep your eyes open for this feeding frenzy!

Photo by Murry Cave - added 3/09/12
Little shag on the rocks just before Cluny Road.

Pied Shag

Photo by Murry Cave - added 3/09/12
Pied shag adult just west of houses on seaward side of parade.
Photo by Murry Cave - added 3/09/12
Pied shag juvenile plumage on the rocks at fire station.


other names for the pied shag: Karuhiruhi, Phalacrocorax P. varius, Pied cormorant, yellow-faced cormorant.

what they eat: its diet includes benthic fish sometimes called groundfish and are denser than water, so they can rest on the sea floor.

Common site this time of year to see several birds standing on the rocks along the shore.


    date: June 2010

To see other plovers on this site click plovers.

So what's so special about the Shore plover. Read here.    

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is very interested in any shore plover sightings on the mainland and have set up an email address for anyone to report them. Send email for reporting sightings at  ShorePlover@doc.govt.nz.

If possible, please include the following information:

  • Numbers of birds seen
  • The time of day
  • Location (GPS co-ordinates are really useful)
  • If possible, leg band details of individuals. Take these starting with their left leg (top then bottom band), then their right leg (top then bottom band).

Update 12 April 2014 from Sue Rose

Just to let everyone know that the shore plovers are back visiting the mainland - there have been five birds behind the firestation the last couple of days.  A reminder to the dog walkers to make sure their dogs are kept away from the rocks/beach area near the firestation.

Colour Review by Taffy Parry, added 10/09/2012
Photo by Murry Cave - added 8/09/2012
Shore plover on the rocks at fire station.
See more photos by Murry Cave at his website: www.murrycavephotography.co.nz 
Photo by Sue Rose - Juvenile Shore Plover Photo by Sue Rose
Photo and text by Sue Rose (on 11 June 2011 Sue counted 32 birds)

Extremely rare shore plovers on Plimmerton beaches

One of New Zealand’s most endangered birds has appeared recently on our beaches, around the fire station corner. These birds are part of the colony being established on Mana Island.

Shore plovers (Thinornis novaeseelandiae) were once widespread around the coast of the South Island but were disappearing by the 1870s. Their global population is estimated to be less than 250 birds.

Friends of Mana Island (FOMI) is funding and providing volunteers for a five year translocation project, which includes extensive monitoring of the newly introduced birds.

The Mana Island project is one of a series of releases of shore plover. Ten pairs are held in captivity at Mount Bruce. Young birds produced by the captive flock are released on to predator free islands, including Mana, as soon as they are old enough to fly.

The only natural breeding population of shore plovers is on Rangatira Island (south east island in the Chatham Islands).

The Mana Island group is showing early signs of success. A pair from 41 juveniles introduced in 2007 hatched and fledged a chick during 2008 and five more young shore plovers fledged in 2009.

A grant from the Birdlife International Community Conservation Fund has helped to establish a new population of endangered shore plovers on Mana Island.

FOMI has assisted DOC to make Mana Island predator free and has planted over half a million trees, restored a wetland and reintroduced threatened birds and reptiles. Forest and Bird have also been heavily involved in the project over the years.

Please keep dogs on leads in this area. Or even better, keep them off this stretch of beach. And nearby residents are asked to keep cats well away. Cats and rats are responsible for the decline of shore plovers and other endangered native birds.

Stick insect, photo at Plimmerton by Rosemary O’Hara, March 2014  
stick insect on tree  

Caspian Tern (Find out more see Forest and Bird website)


Photo and caption by Taffy Parry - posted 23 May 2013.

The Caspian Tern which can be seen flying parallel to the shore in Plimmerton with its head bowed in search of food. On seeing a surface swimming fish it hovers and  dives down to the surface, which I seem to observe with its wings half open unlike the Gannet which dives steeply striking head first into the sea. Last figures I was able to find indicated a total population of some 3500 birds throughout NZ. We are truly fortunate to see these farely rare birds as we walk along our foreshores both in Plimmerton and the inner harbours.



Photo by Murry Cave - added 4/09/12
Caspian tern in flight above the rocks at fire station.
 White Fronted Tern  
Photo by Murry Cave - added 8/09/12
White fronted tern in flight above the rocks at fire station.
See more photos by Murry Cave at his website: www.murrycavephotography.co.nz 

'Feathered Choirster'

Photo and text by Taffy Parry, added 26/09/2012

You would think that having 17 tuis in one tree would make it easy to get a photograph of one. Maybe I'm loosing my touch or they are teasing me as they chortle and chase each other in a fluttering game of tag amongst the yolk coloured fronds of dangling yellow cornets. Whatever, it is a great pleasure seeing them, their heads baptized with pollen, their blue black feathers shimmering and their white bow ties vibrating to their song. As you can see there are plenty of seed on the trees so anyone who would like to start growing their own and extend the forest of kowhai trees are more than welcome.


Portrait of a Tui by Taffy Parry, added 10/09/2012



Read more about the tui Click here.

Photos by Taffy Parry, added July 2012

Read more about Taffy Parry.