Saturday, August 22, 2009
2009. Travis Wetland Walkway, Christchurch
2009. Barkers Lane view of Travis Wetland Waterway parallel to Anzac Drive, Christchurch
2009. Gulls, Travis Wetland Waterway, Barkers Lane, Christchurch
Christchurch was mostly built on ancient swamps, so I parked my car on Barkers Lane, off New Brighton Road, as I wanted to walk around Travis Wetland, which long ago had been Avon River Estuary. Ancient dune encroachment over the estuary mouth had moved Avon River Estuary mouth south-eastwards.
Travis Wetland spring-fed water drained southwards to Avon River through a culvert under New Brighton Road. High tide brackish water flowed northwards along a waterway between Avon River and Travis Wetland.
2009. Noxious Fish Sign, Travis Wetland, Christchurch
2009. Pukeko, Travis Wetland, Christchurch
2009. Canada Goose, Travis Wetland, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Waterway, Anzac Drive, Christchurch
At a small wooden pier I snapped a noxious fish sign: Rudd; Koi carp; Gambusia (mosquito fish); catfish. I snapped waterbirds: pukekos; gulls; black swans; Canada geese; ducks, then I walked the grassy track towards Travis Wetland, with houses on my right and the waterway with noisy Anzac Drive on my left. Native plantings lined the track. On a creek boardwalk, I heard irritating Anzac Drive traffic noise.
2009. Boardwalk, Travis Wetland Waterway, opposite Anzac Drive, Christchurch
2009. Canada Geese, Travis Road, Christchurch
2009. Swamped Willows, Travis Wetland, Frosts Road, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Road Sign, Frosts Road, Christchurch
I crossed busy Anzac Drive traffic circle towards Frosts Road with QEII Golf Park on my right. On Frosts Road / Travis Road corner, I coolpixed foraging Canada geese, then I walked up Frosts Road with Travis Wetland inundated willows close to my left and Queen Elizabeth 11 Park on my right.
Although Frosts Road had a tarsealed track beside the golf course, on Travis Wetland side I waded through muddy grass and litter: fruit peels; paper; cardboard; aluminium cans; plastic packets and bottles; plastic hub caps. I picked up 3 golf balls and wondered how many golf balls were in Travis Wetland? A road sign stated:
2009. Travis Wetland Sign, Frosts Road Entrance, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Rules, Christchurch
Further along Frosts Road, by the park entrance a navy blue sign with a pukeko pic stated:
NATURE HERITAGE PARK
2009. Native Plantings & Willows, Travis Wetland, Christchurch
2009. Pukeko Road Sign, Travis Wetland, Christchurch
2009. Gate Signs, Travis Wetland, Christchurch. Info Kiosk Backdrop
The pukeko was Christchurch's emblem. I walked along a gravel road to the info kiosk past a sign stating: "Pedestrians welcome during daylight." Beyond a pukeko road sign, a wooden gate had prohibition signs stating:
NO DOGS. Many birds rest, nest and feed on the ground and are easily harmed.
AUTHORIZED VEHICLES ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT
2009. Travis Wetland Info Board, near Info Kiosk, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland, Save the Swamp, Info Kiosk, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Info Board, Info Kiosk, Christchurch
By the carpark, I looked at a TRAVIS WETLAND info board, with prohibitions, and WARNING POISON Brodifacoum for rats & mice sign. I went to the public loo. I lingered in the info kiosk, glancing at info boards giving the history and ecology of Travis Wetland. I looked at Travis Wetland through kiosk windows.
2009. Bird Hide Track, Travis Wetland, Christchurch
2009. Bird Hide, Travis Wetland, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Bird Hide Southern View, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Bird Hide North-Western View, Christchurch
I walked a gravel road to Travis Wetland Bird Hide. I passed another noxious fish sign: Rudd... Around swamped willow trunks I saw Azolla aquatic ferns. In the Bird Hide I looked at 5 info boards: waders; ducks; bird guide; swans, geese, shags and gulls; other birds of Travis Wetland.
Through Hide windows I looked at birds: pukekos; Canada geese; black swans; scaups; paradise shelducks... Two early swallows with rufous breasts flew in and out of the Hide. I coolpixed Travis Wetland through Hide windows.
2009. Wading Pukeko, Travis Wetland, Christchurch
2009. Farm Shed, Travis Wetland, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland view of Port Hills, Christchurch
2009. Tavis Wetland paths, Christchurch
I walked northwards along a gravel track around Travis Wetland towards Mairehau Road, past houses on my right, and in the wetland: masses of bullrushes, willows and a derelict corrugated-iron farm shed.
An old man and several women pushing prams walked briskly past, while I deleted old coolpix from my Nikon memory card. I passed many pukekos and Canada geese while they foraged in the grassy swamp.
2009. Travis Wetland seen from Mairehau Road, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland southern view. Port Hills backdrop, Christchurch
2009. Pukeos foraging, Travis Wetland. Port Hills backdrop, Christchurch
From Mairehau Road, I looked over bullrushes and tussock sedges towards distant Port Hills. On Travis Wetland's northern edge, I passed another Travis Wetland info board, with prohibitions, and Warning Poison Brodifacoum for rats & mice sign.
I passed through a wooden gate into Anne Flanagan Dell, filled with swamped willows and native bush curving around the northern edge of Travis Wetland. I walked a boardwalk, while thinking about Anne Flanagan who'd campaigned to Save the Swamp from housing development.
I watched two Australian harriers (swamp harriers) Circus approximans, soaring above the swamp, searching for prey.
2009. Travis Wetland Gate to Anne Flanagan Dell, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Boardwalk near Anne Flanagan Dell, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Boardwalk Eastern View, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Boardwalk near Viewing Tower, Christchurch
Along another meandering boardwalk over rushes and tussock sedges, 3 codgers passed me, blowing in the wind, while I coolpixed southern views over Travis Wetland to the Port Hills.
I caught up with the codgers at the metal Viewing Tower. A woman jogger puffed past, and another woman pushing a pram strode past. I pushed past 2 teenage boys blocking my way up the Viewing Tower.
On top, 2 info boards described the history of Travis Wetland and the value of willows as nursery trees for native plantings like kahikatea black pines. Over the years, female willows would be destroyed to make way for native swamp trees.
2009. Travis Wetland Viewing Tower, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Viewing Tower Profile, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Landscape History, top of Viewing Tower, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Viewing Tower view, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Willows & Native Trees Conservation, Christchurch
Several men passed me along the gravel track, and a man pushing his dad in a wheelchair passed too. I walked past houses on my right with views over the swamp. I passed a metal gate showing a track through the swamp back to the Bird Hide.
I passed through another wooden gate into Clarevale Reserve, where I watched pukekos foraging on grass by Travis Country Drive. I read another Travis Wetland info board, with prohibitions, and Warning Poison Brodifacoum for rats and mice sign.
2009. Foraging Pukeko, Travis Wetland, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Bench Plaque, Suzanne Quirk, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Native Plantings, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Track to Bird Hide, Christchurch
I continued southwards along Travis Wetland perimeter track, and passed a bench with a bronze plaque remembering Suzanne Quirk. I'd passed several benches beside the walkway and several navy blue plastic poles with white numbers on top, showing Christchurch City Council self-guided walk stops. I coolpixed a cattle paddock in the swamp: cattle hooves churned mud, for waterbirds hunting prey.
2009. Travis Wetland Cattle Paddock, Christchurch
2009. Track between Travis Wetland & Travis Road, Christchurch
2009. Travis Road Culvert view of Travis Wetland, Christchurch
I joined a tarsealed track beside busy Travis Road, which went eastwards towards Anzac Drive traffic circle. I stopped at Travis Road culvert and watched ducks swimming into the swamp. Canada geese still foraged on the grass at Travis Road / Frosts Road corner.
2009. WW1 "Poppies Over Gallipoli" Plaque, Anzac Drive / Travis Road Corner, Christchurch
2009. WW1 "Poppies Over Gallipoli" Memorial, Anzac Drive / Travis Road Corner, Christchurch
On the opposite Travis Road / Anzac Drive corner, I stopped to see the iron "Poppies Over Gallipoli" memorial: I read a bronze memorial plaque on a stone, and looked at the 6 giant red poppies on iron poles joined by 6 rusty iron strips below, on which Kemal Ataturk's 1934 Anzac Cove memorial words were cut, so that light shone through iron words:
"These heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives,
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are at peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well."
2009. Travis Wetland Waterway, Anzac Drive, Christchurch
2009. Travis Wetland Waterway, Barkers Lane, Christchurch
Back at my car, I'd finished the walk in about 3 hours, with many coolpix and birdwatching stops.
2009. Travis Wetland Waterway, New Brighton Road, Christchurch
Coda: During the 2010-2011 Christchurch quakes, Barkers Ln, New Brighton Rd, Anzac Dr, Travis Rd, Frosts Rd, Mairehau Rd, side roads & houses were damaged, due to quake shaking & liquefaction. Damage by liquefaction was widespread in Christchurch, wherever there was river water, swamp water or groundwater.
Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.
See Noxious Fish NZ: Rudd; Koi Carp; Gambusia (Mosquito fish); Catfish (DOC)