November 5, 2017
Changing Seasons: A Forest In Flux
One of the things that makes New Zealand such an amazing place to visit is the fact that its landscape and wildlife are in a state of near-constant flux.
The seasons overlap and flow into each other so it seems as though they’re forever changing, as is the case right now. Spring has flown by and is morphing into summer before our very eyes. It’s been a wild one too with lots of sun, wind, and rain (often on the same day!).
One thing that we’re really noticing this year is the abundance of new birdlife in our old growth forest.
At present, our resident piwakawaka (fantail) are hard at work, rearing their young so that they might fledge and make use of the bountiful summer months. Our tui are at the start of their mating season and the males are hard at work, trying to out-sing and out-fly each other in the hopes of impressing the local females. And our beloved kereru are entering their party season, where they gorge themselves on fruits to such an extent that they can become drunk and have even been known to fall out of trees!
In addition to all this, many species of plants and flowers are coming into bloom.
One of the more understated but incredible plants that is presently blooming in our forest is the Greenhood Orchid. The Greenhood possesses a touch sensitive lip and when a small insect touches it, it flips backwards and traps the insect deep inside the flower. The only way for the insect to escape is to crawl over the stigma and through a small tunnel, then past the pollen to freedom. Once free, the insect sets off, no doubt a little stunned but happy enough to have secured a meal from the orchid.
It moves on to the next Greenhood and the process begins all over again, ensuring that the cunning orchid is able to pollinate. The lip resets itself after about half an hour, so the Greenhood can play its trick on multiple insects throughout the day.
One of the joys of managing an unspoiled forest like ours is the fact that we get to witness these things throughout the year. Indeed, we’ve had plenty of guests return to our forest and marvel at the changes that have been wrought in their absence. For us, bearing witness to these changes and pointing them out to our guests is one of the best things about looking after a forest in flux.
So if it’s been a while since you last visited us, come back and say hello: you might be surprised by what you discover.