At this time of year I sometimes imagine I’ve just arrived on the Hibiscus Coast from a northern hemisphere winter.
The sun is hot, the sea is warm. From Shakespear Park lookout the Hauraki Gulf sparkles in the afternoon sun. Pohutukawas are red with flower and tui come and go. A kereru flies by.
Day to day we don’t always notice the small things that make our lives better but it’s good to step back and look at what’s around us. Maybe the holiday season is a time for this. After all, what a place we live in!
It wasn’t always like this. When I moved to the coast 30 years ago there were far fewer native birds in our gardens and a kereru was an unusual sight. An early 90s study at Wenderholm showed appalling breeding outcomes for kereru. Of 20 nests monitored, none successfully raised a chick. This has improved greatly with better pest control and now we can see kereru almost daily.
There are two things going on behind the scenes that have brought about such big changes.
One, the council, local boards and people of Auckland have seen the importance of keeping our local environment in good health for us to enjoy.
Secondly, a large, and growing, number of people put their own time into volunteering to help.
If you enjoy the outdoors and think volunteering could be your thing, email Forest and Bird for some information and make 2022 your year for nature.
And now, with the end of the year approaching, I just want to say a heartfelt thank you to all the volunteers on the Coast. You plant trees and care for reserves. You count birds and write newsletters, build trap boxes and look after the IT.
You check Pest Free Hibiscus Coast Project trap lines in parks and reserves all around the Coast. At least 1600 of you trap pests in your own backyards.
So take a day or two off, put your feet up, then go out and enjoy the flourishing birdlife and forests around the Hibiscus Coast.