Monday, May 29, 2006

Google Maps Down Under

Sorry it's been a while. I've been busy with the new job, email me for details. I don't want to post anything on my employer here as these things tend to turn up suspiciously high in google searches.

Speaking of which, Google Maps recently updated their road data for Australia and New Zealand!

Google Earth Blog - 18 May

They look a lot like the maps from, but I much prefer the Google Maps interface. Here's our Albany neighborhood in Google Maps.

I also have an update on the last wildlife post: Kel tells me that the parakeets out back are actually Eastern Rosellas, an introduced species. Kakariki are actually quite rare, like a lot of NZ birds, they're now limited to some of the isolated regions without predators (usually offshore islands).

File Under: New Zealand,

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Last of the Backyard Wildlife

Since I expect that having a job will seriously cut into my birdwatching time (woot!), this may be the last of the New Zealand wildlife posts for a while (at least until I start getting some quality expedition time on the weekends).

ParakeetAnyway, there are big flocks of parakeets that swing through in the mornings. I'd need a bigger lens to catch a decent shot, but you can at least see what it is from this one:
Kakariki - Red Crowned Parakeet It doesn't look quite like the picture of the native bird, so maybe it's some kind of hybrid. Or maybe we're looking at a big flock of feral parakeets on the rampage.

I caught another picture of the Kingfisher, still not a great one, but better I think.

And finally a huge spider that briefly took up residence on our balcony (the broom is a little over two inches wide). No ID on this one, though I'm thinking it may be a sheetweb.



File Under: New Zealand,

Woohoo! !

I've finally found a job! Ironically, after all this time, it's with the first company where I interviewed, and the first recruiter that saw my C.V. (I was up to five of them as of yesterday!). They want me to start a.s.a.p. and they're highly motivated to help me get my immigration paperwork through.

As for what I'm doing: it's Microsoft Systems Architecture for a consulting company. To start with I'll be jumping right in to rescue some project that's in hot water, we'll see where things go from there. Just like old times. ;-)

File Under: New Zealand,

Monday, May 08, 2006

Kayaking North Harbour

How sweet is this?

I'd mentioned earlier that there's a creek down the hill from the new place. Well, it turns out that that creek joins Lucas creek about 200 meters downstream. Then Lucas creek is navigable all the way down to Waitemata harbor, which is only about 12k away.

So the bottom line is that I can put my kayak in at Wharf road (about 5 blocks away), and be paddling the edges of Auckland harbor within an hour. I could go the other way and paddle up to my backyard in a few minutes if the tide is in.

Now I just need to figure out this tide thing. Looks like it slips about 20 minutes later each day. So the one high tide that occurs at a decent hour will be 40 minutes later every day. My book on kayaking the North Island didn't mention any tidal flow or current hazards in the Lucas creek area, but it says it turns into a shallow muddy mangrove slog at low tide. A quick look at the landing this afternoon confirmed that. It looked pretty shallow and mucky even as the tide was coming in.

File Under: New Zealand,

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I Pity the Fool

How awesome is this!

I Pity the Fool

80's icon Mr. T travels the country dispensing wisdom and advice (and no jibba jabba) to fans in need.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

New Zealand Birds III

Lots of birds out back this weekend.

There was a New Zealand Kingfisher (Kotare) in the dead tree right off our balcony. It was just there for a second, but I see them out there quite often, so they must hang out around the creek at the bottom of the hill.

There was also a little flock of Wax-eyes zipping around in the weeds by the fence.
Wax Eye

Wax Eye

And last but not least, I managed to get some much better pictures of the Tui that hangs around our balcony.



File Under: New Zealand,