Flora and Fauna Background
The wide range of nationalities who arrived as miners in the goldfields from the 1860s brought with them many seeds and plants from their home countries. These plants added to the native species from previous eras, principally when Central Otago was dominated by Lake Manuherikia. The lake shores had been a haven for wildlife, its shallow, silty bottom a source of modern clay cliffs and its decaying forest residue forming modern era coal seams. The current environment of Central Otago being in the 'rain shadow' of the Southern Alps accounts for its low rainfall and therefore its relatively few natural grown trees and for its small, hardy plants.
Also, in the animal kingdon New Zealand originally had two native mammals, both being species of bats. So there were no browsing animals on the plains or in the forests. Uniquely on earth, New Zealand native birds evolved to fill this mammal gap. Giant moa grazed the plains, many birds including the iconic kiwi could safely walked everywhere without fear of predators and birdlife flourished. Over time many other bird species have been introduced or self-introduced from Australia.
With this background in mind here are some of the main native and introduced plants, animals and birds that live in the Bannockburn trails area.
Bushes and Trees
Native plants include tussock, matagouri.
Exotic plants include thyme, hieracium, briar rose, californian poppy.
Exotic trees include poplar, willow, eucalyptus, pine and macrocarpa.
Native birds include tui, bellbird, falcon, harrier hawk (self introduced from Australia), paradise shelduck, grey duck, scaup, grebe.
Introduced birds include German or little owl, Californian Quail, mallard, shag/pied cormorant, seagull, welcome swallow and many small seed-eaters.
Native animals include skinks.
Introduced aminmals include sheep, cattle, rabbit, hare, possum, hedgehog, rat, stoat, ferret, weasel, feral cat.
Introduced insects include honey bee, bumble bee, german wasp.
All these resouces are relevant to the Bannockburn area. They open in a new window to aid mobile research as you follow the trail guides.
Nature Watch NZ
Find details on virtually any NZ critter, budgie, bush or tree.
New Zealand Birds Online.
A NZ bird identification resource.
Animal Pest A-Z
The Department of Conservation (DOC) list of animal pest species.