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Peter Hodge
New Zealand
Naturalist, outdoorsman, writer and photographer
Recent Activity
Photos of Caofeidian, a Chinese 'eco-city' that's become a ghost town. The idea of an eco-city is ridiculous. There's nothing 'eco-friendly' about a development that destroys a natural space, and replaces it with concrete, steel, glass and bitumen. Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at Storm Bird
Eight years ago I read the works of the Stoic philosophers Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. The experience changed my life. Now, in May I'm re-reading Epictetus's Discourses and Manual (Enchiridion), and seeking a deeper understanding of what Epictetus taught, and to put it into practice. Unlike today, when philosophy... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2014 at Storm Bird
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The Shark's Teeth, entrance to Wellington harbour (Peter Hodge © All rights reserved 2013). Spotted Shags are breeding again at the Shark's Teeth. On 26th March I saw two breeding pairs on the north-facing nests on the North Pinnacle. Three days later I saw the two pairs again, and another... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2014 at Storm Bird
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Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor), Breaker Bay (photo: Peter Hodge © all rights reserved 2014) I came across a moulting Little Penguin at Breaker Bay two days ago. It's quite a surprise to see penguins in moult, as usually they look sleek. Some people say that moulting penguins look 'miserable', but... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2014 at Storm Bird
In the opening scene of the film Last of the Mohicans, Hawkeye, Uncas and Chingachgook hunt a deer in the forest. In the course of the chase, they run, sprint, walk, leap, and scramble across rough terrain. They use their minds and their senses to follow the deer. They are... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2014 at Storm Bird
Yesterday the dog and I walked in the bush at Watts Peninsula (northern Miramar). This is old defence land, an area of pine forest, regenerating native bush, grassy fields, scrub, and military fortifications built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We came across large patches of blackberry. As... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2014 at Storm Bird
The Guardian describes Darren Almond's landscape photographs, taken at night with long exposures, as "astonishing" and "ethereal". With a couple of exceptions (Fullmoon@Cape Verde, 2013, and Fullmoon@Esk River, 2013) they don't do much for me. This is because the photos look as though they were taken during the day. The... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2014 at Storm Bird
Seven thousand summers ago, a dark-skinned, blue-eyed European died in a deep Spanish cave... "He was probably lactose intolerant and had more difficulty digesting starchy foods than the farmers who transformed diets and lifestyles when they took up tools in the first agricultural revolution." Like birds but can't draw them?... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2014 at Storm Bird
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I like eating wild foods. The other day I harvested some bull kelp (rimurapa) on Wellington's south coast, near Red Rocks. Wellington's south coast, looking towards Red Rocks (photo: Peter Hodge © all rights reserved 2014) Overnight I dried the kelp on the clothes line. You can eat kelp raw,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2014 at Storm Bird
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Saltwater crocodile at Yellow Water, Kakadu (photo: Peter Hodge © all rights reserved 2011) I walked near the water's edge at Burdbulba billabong. Saltwater crocodiles lurked nearby, but I wasn’t sure where they were or if I would see them. It was Wurrgeng, cold weather season in the Northern Territory’s... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2014 at Storm Bird
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Before the dewilding (aka weeding) ... During the dewilding ... After the dewilding ... Now to prepare the beds for sowing and planting vegetables. Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2014 at Storm Bird
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Carving in the forest, Catchpool Valley (photo: Peter Hodge © all rights reserved 2014) The nikau palm towered fifteen metres above my head, its crown poking through the forest canopy. It stood near a stream, among tall podocarp trees on an alluvial terrace, hemmed by a thick undergrowth of palms,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2014 at Storm Bird
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North Island Tomtit on Mt McKerrow (photo: Peter Hodge © all rights reserved 2014) Miromiro is the Maori name for the North Island Tomtit (Petroica macrocephala), a small forest-dwelling passerine endemic to New Zealand. I photographed this male bird yesterday in podocarp-broadleaf-beech forest high on Mount McKerrow, in the Orongorongo... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2014 at Storm Bird
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Yesterday I walked the Catchpool track to the Orongorongo River. It's a two hour walk through lush conifer-broadleaf and beech forest. Nikau palms grow profusely along the stream, giving the bush a tropical look. There were many Kereru in the forest, with male birds making long swooping flights above the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2014 at Storm Bird
Years ago I read The Jungle is Neutral and marvelled at Chapman's fortitude (waging a guerrilla war against the Japanese in the Malayan jungle), but I didn't realise he was also a bird watcher, Arctic explorer and Himalayan mountaineer. Falcon cam. The term 'motion camouflage' is new to me, but... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2014 at Storm Bird
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Hammerhead Shark at Cocos Islands, Costa Rica (photo: Barry Peters) Yesterday I linked to an article on a New Zealand scientist who sought to allay shark fears after a Waihi beach closure on 11 January: When asked if he thought shark hysteria had gone too far, Duffy said: "If it... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2014 at Storm Bird
An interview with birder Ron Beck who set a record for a carbon-free Big Year (on bicycle and foot) for Cochise County, Arizona: 301 bird species as at 19 December 2013.... The story of a fisherman lost overboard, and how he survived - he didn't panic, or give up, but... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2014 at Storm Bird
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I figured that to give sea swimming a decent go, I'd need to buy a proper ocean wetsuit. So I went to Swim T3's Wellington shop and bought a S4 Orca fullsleeve wetsuit (a beginner's wetsuit) and a bright yellow swim cap. The S4 Orca is made from neoprene and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2014 at Storm Bird
No Bronze Whalers today, at least none that I could see. I swam at Worser Bay, Miramar, around 3pm. The sky was clear, with a fresh northwest wind. In the bay the water was sheltered, but further out the water was choppy, the waves kicked up by the wind. The... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2014 at Storm Bird
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"Just be aware," said the lifeguard, "that half an hour ago we spotted a shark, a young Bronze Whaler, about two metres long, swimming in the shallows." "Oh, um, that's interesting," I said, pulling on my wetsuit. "It swam off. Should be safe enough, but if we spot it again... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2014 at Storm Bird
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New Zealand Fantail, one of the forest birds at risk from predatory rats, stoats and possums (photo: Peter Hodge © all rights reserved 2013). My son and I headed towards a hut in the Tararua ranges. We walked in beech forest, below tall trees and ferns. Birds were calling -... Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2013 at Storm Bird
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Dead shark at Breaker Bay (photo: Peter D Hodge © all rights reserved 2013) I came across this dead shark, two metres long, at Breaker Bay - it had been washed ashore overnight. A Black-backed Gull pecked at the carcass, but beat a hasty retreat as the dog and I... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2013 at Storm Bird
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The end of the Mesozoic: artist's impression of asteroid impact at Chicxulub (illustration: Donald E Davis) One day, 65 million years ago, a large asteroid hit the Earth. Ten to 15 kilometres wide, the space rock slammed into the sea near Chicxulub, in modern Mexico. It gouged a seabed crater... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2013 at Storm Bird
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This morning I was at Breaker Bay, looking to photograph White-fronted Terns which are nesting on a pinnacle. I try to photograph birds which are landing on or taking off from their nests, from a front-on or front-side angle. Like all birds, terns land and take off into the wind.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2013 at Storm Bird
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Last night I camped at Te Rimurapa, also known as Sinclair Head, overlooking Cook Strait. Te Rimurapa is a high headland on Wellington's steep south coast. It has superb vistas of big sea, sky and hills ... from distant Cape Palliser in the east to Tongue Point and the Marlborough... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2013 at Storm Bird