Saturday morning, we took advantage of the lovely weather to take a walk out on ‘our’ beach. Not just any old walk, but one that would take us beyond the lake opening onto Kaitorete Spit.
I can’t believe that in the eleven years we’ve lived here, we’ve never done this before. We’ve walked to the lake opening many times, but always when the lake was open to the sea, to see the dolphins and seabirds that congregate there eating the fish migrating in and out of the lake.
But our goal this time was the wild tip of the spit.
You would think that a mere couple of kilometres would make little difference in the beach, but the change was positively stunning.
On ‘our’ part of the beach, the dunes are covered in non-native shrubs and ice plant. Not a native plant to be found.
An hour’s stroll out onto the spit took us into a different world. Non-native plants all but gone on the dunes, replaced by pingao. Behind the dunes, native broom, Raoulia (vegetable sheep), and Muehlenbeckia.
The shape of the dunes was different. The whole effect less verdant and more windswept.
Naturally, we searched for kātipo spiders among the pingao, as this is one of the few places this endangered spider can be found. We found none, but we did find a number of other spiders, lots of spider egg cases, and a couple of sand scarabs (including an adult, which was a first for me).
We knew all this was out there, but knowing and having experienced it are two different things.
And now that we understand what’s out there, I’m sure we’ll be going back again soon.