Saturday, 6 April 2013

Ngataki Beach: The Finds

We walked along Ngataki Beach which, on the face of it was quite and ordinary beach by New Zealand standards.  However we made some discoveries I don't think either of us had seen elsewhere before:

The first was Holloway's Crystalwort, a small summer-growing annual plant unique (I think) to NZ which grows near the high tide on sandy beaches.  It used to grow on beaches all down the East coast of the North Island but is now only found on the remotest beaches in the Far North.  The tiny glistening lumps on the leaves make the plant appear as though it's been dusted with sugar - hence its name.  Crystalwort is one of a small number of native plants which grows at high tide forward of the dunes.  I may not be big or spectacular but it is a plant which makes NZ special and it's one more species heading for distinction.  It also provides food for a range of native insects.



Then we came across Goose Barnacles.  Not that I had a clue what they were never having seen one before.   Katherine came to our rescue.  She could not recall having seen one but remembered it from her school science book (a feat in itself in my eyes).




Lastly came a Porcupine Fish or Blowfish (because they intake water and blow themselves into twice their size or more just as if those spines were not enough to deter predators!)




I can't decide whether it looks surprised at being stranded or whether it's trying to tell me something.  (It was, of course, well past either of those things!).

14 comments:

  1. Are the crystals on the wort slat or sugar? I'll google it now.

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    1. No help at all was Google.

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    2. I don't think that's it's either Adrian. The NZ Plant Conservation Network describes them as "exposed surfaces coated with deciduous, watery, spherical, glistening papillae" ie a small fleshy projection. Not really very enlightening.

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  2. Those blow fish spines can be dangerous...good thing you saw what it was and not step on it hidden under a pile of seaweed......OUCH!!
    Loved the close up of the barnacles, don't have that kind here.
    The pretty little seaweed crystals look like salt deposits glistening in the sun, but I prefer its sugary name.

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    1. The fishermen in the boat in one of my previous posts had caught some and they said that they were a real problem because the spines could penetrate protective footwear easily.

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  3. You show some interesting things that most people would miss. Then you add some interesting information.

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  4. I think the fish looks very annoyed at being stranded. I certainly would not like to encounter it in its right element though.

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    1. I suspect that in the water it keeps out of harms way and people keep out if its way too. I don't think it's particularly vicious.

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    2. What I meant was that brushing up against it does not seem to be an experience even a fanatic swimming-with-the-fishes-friend would enjoy ...

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  5. I once danced with a girl who looked like that.

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    1. Only once I should think Marcel.

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  6. Strange things grow in New Zealand, in and out of the water. I liked Marcel's comment. I think we all did that at one time or another.

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    1. Strange things indeed Bill. However at least very few of them are dangerous in that way that almost everything on the other side of the Tasman is.

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