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Trip Report – Fitzroy Bay side of Baring Head / Orua Pouanui

Trip Report – 8 March 2014 :   Fitzroy Bay side of Baring Head / Orua Pouanui

This trip, in the most recent addition to East Harbour Regional Park, was rescheduled from 1 March because of poor weather.

Melicytus crassifolius
Melicytus crassifolius.   Illustration: Eleanor Burton.
Thanks to GWRC Ranger Mark McAlpine providing us with a gate key, we took 4WD vehicles over the Wainuiomata River bridge to Fitzroy Bay, giving us more time to botanise.   We parked on the raised beach and botanised the area until morning tea time, adding the ferns Asplenium flabellifolium and Polystichum oculatum to the plant list.

We had made slow progress, so decided to walk briskly south to the Baring Head climbing rocks.   Here we scrambled over rocks, saw taupata / Coprosma repens prostrated against them by the wind, NZ daphne / Pimelea prostrata subsp. prostrata, Crassula mataikona and Craspedia uniflora var. grandis.   We saw an abundance of ripe fruit on Coprosma propinqua var. propinqua, thick-leaved mahoe / Melicytus crassifolius and pohuehue / Muehlenbeckia complexa.

Many copper butterflies fed on abundant tauhinu / Ozothamnus leptophyllus flowers.   We saw two lizards, a common skink and a common gecko, the latter dead, possibly run over by a mountain biker.   With the removal of cattle, their trails through the ‘grey scrub’ community are being obliterated by the vigorous growth of the plants on this more sheltered side of the peninsula.   Also silvery sand grass / Spinifex sericeus and sand tussock / Poa billardierei (=Austrofestuca littoralis) on the beach are growing well, no longer being rooted out or trampled by cattle, and the formation of sand dunes is apparent.

To end the day we filled large plastic bags, from a stash left by GWRC, with seed pods and smaller plants of horned poppy, plus plastic, glass and other rubbish, while botanising our way back along the beach to the vehicles.

Participants :   Bev Abbott, Brian Halliday, Chris Hopkins ( leader / scribe) John Hornblow, Chris Horne, Pat Maclean, Barbara Mitcalfe, Leon Perrie, Nick Saville, Roy Slack.


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