Halswell Domain

Halswell Domain
View from the Model Engineers' site in the Halswell Domain

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The happy story of a former resident of Halswell

Our annual winter West Coast holiday took us on our bikes from Greymouth to Charleston. I have had a research project for many years on a rare seabird, the Westland petrel, that lives in the hills south of Punakaiki. However, the home of the great majority of the population is in "entry by permit only" part of Paparoa National Park, so my wife has never seen these beautiful seabirds close-up.

Bruce and Denise formerly lived just south of Halswell, and now run a tour that includes a small Westland petrel colony on their land overlooking Waiwhero, or Lawson's Creek. So, when I heard that their tour was open, I was keen for both of us to go along.
This picture is far from Halswell! The birds breed on a steep south-facing slope just behind the spur in the photo, and the work that Bruce and Denise have undertaken to make the site easily accessible is quite remarkable.

So, when the Westland petrels started coming into land through the forest all around us just on dark, we were all captivated. I really enjoy the night sky visible from our back yard, but even so it is easy to forget that the night sky we see has been largely blotted out by city lights. We had a good view on our way back to the road end 20 min away.