Saturday 16 February 2019

Day four - gotta love Tiri

We were up early, and packing for our overnight on Tiritiri Matangi.  We packed the van and then headed to grab some lunch, before heading to Gulf Harbour.  We spotted a reef egret fly in and land on the rock wall, and then organised our gear, before a last check of shoes, etc.  The ferry arrived, we loaded our gear onboard and off we headed.
The sea was fairly calm and although there was a light breeze, conditions were good. We saw a small raft of fluttering shearwaters along the way, and then a single Buller’s shearwater, and a lone Parasitic jaeger, so fairly quiet.  On the wharf at Tiritiri Matangi we loaded our gear onto the trolley and then headed for the ranger briefing.  There were two short-tailed rays in the sand on the side of the wharf as we walked there, and the bird song was already started to fall upon our ears.  After the briefing we headed up into the forest, with red-crowned parakeet seen well as we walked up the hill, and then of course tui, bellbird, fantail, whitehead, and saddleback.  Next was a confiding North Island robin – the first of many.
Carrying on up the trail we had ears peeled for other needed birds, but there were quite a few school groups being guided around the place, so we tried to avoid them as much as we could.  Great to see our young New Zealanders being shown how amazing a conservation effort like Tiritiri can be though.  We had stitchbirds and bellbirds around one of the feeders and so enjoyed them for a bit, and then heard some snippets of kokako song.  We persisted with kokako for about 45 minutes, getting glimpses of two birds through the foliage and in the distance, but pretty difficult to see. Listening to the song was rather pleasant though.
We then carried on up the hill, seeing brown quail, more saddleback and stitchbird, as well as pigeon nice and close, and a lot of tui and bellbird.  We carried on to the bunkhouse, and then had a briefing, before having lunch and a bit of a rest.
We then headed out to walk the trails and in search of takaha – bingo, that was easy – and kokako, as well as anything else we could find.  We wandered trails and managed to see another kokako briefly as it flew through forest near to us, pausing a couple of times, but again not playing the game!  Stitchbirds were more cooperative, and then at a small pond we had two very cooperative juvenile spotless crakes, feeding on the edge of the pond in plain sight. Much easier to see than the glimpse of one running through the forest earlier!  We also then had views of another couple of adults, but not such good views – but thankfully today it wasn’t a crake-less spot!
Heading back towards the bunkhouse we had another singing kokako, but just couldn’t see it in through the foliage – frustrating, but that is birding.  We did have great views of a female great eggfly or blue moon butterfly which was pretty cool!  Back at the bunkhouse preparations for dinner got underway, whilst cheese and crackers were demolished, and BBQ lamb chops and beautiful steak, freshly tossed salads and boiled potatoes with butter were washed down with beer and wine!  After a quick bit of chocolate for dessert it was time to head out for our evening walk. After a stunning sunset we managed to find two tuatara which gave really good views, and then after two hours of walking trails and listening for kiwi in the very windy conditions, we found one right near the bunkhouse!  It gave great views for about 10 seconds, and then strutted off into the bushes!  Bed time to dream of kiwi!

Bird of the day– Little spotted kiwi x 3, tuatara x1, spotless crake x2, kokako x1, Stitchbird x1
Don't even need binoculars for that one!

Scanning the seas - what a spectacular place!

Mural on the toilets at Tiri

Dinner in style!

Beautiful sunset before kiwi spotting

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