Saturday 1 February 2014

Marvelous Tiritiri

So with overnight bags packed, we quickly grabbed some lunch, had a quick drive around the area as a last ditch effort to see a Kookaburra, which we did not find, before heading off through to Gulf Harbour to meet the ferry for Tiritiri Matangi Island.  We arrived with plenty of time, checked in and then scanned the neighbouring breakwaters for reef egret before the boat arrived.

On the way across we had little blue penguin, Buller’s and fluttering shearwater, and several Arctic and a single Pomarine skua!  A nice addition to the list!  On arrival at Tiri we were met by the rangers and then headed off up towards the bunkhouse.

As we headed up we quickly had great views of North Island robin, bellbird and tui, red-crowned parakeet, and had heard kokako, all within a few minutes.  Shortly thereafter we got great views of saddleback and stitchbird, and several pigeon were also posing for photographs.  A little further on we got some brief but good views of kokako as they jumped from tree to tree, and their song was as always a very evocative sound.

We arrived up to the bunkhouse, settled in, had lunch and then a little rest during the heat of the day, before heading out with cameras and binoculars in hand.  We managed to track down a pair of takahe that had a relatively well grown chick and had really great close views of the almost prehistoric birds as they fed in the grasslands.  We then headed off down the island, seeing more saddleback, robin, stitchbirds, and pigeon, and then managed to find a tuatara – a large adult several feet long – basking in the dappled light of the forest floor.  Excellent!  Carrying on we then had stunning views of several spotless crakes running around and feeding an chasing each other at one of the ponds, and some spectacular photos were captured as well.

After a fantastic BBQ dinner of steak, NZ lamb chops and salad and potatoes, washed down with some great NZ wines, we then headed out to look for kiwi.  A brief but good view of one dashing across a track was all we managed in several hours of searching, but we did also get several little blue penguins, and stonking views of a morepork, resulting in full frame photos!  Some happy chappies and another excellent day!

Day total – Seen = 48 + 1 heard (fernbird); new for the trip = 13; total for the trip to date = 91

Tuatara outside its burrow during the day

Saddleback peering down curiously

Whitehead, plenty of them around at the moment

Red-crowned parakeet perched in Coprosma

North Island robin coming in for a closer look

Pukeko youngster with the wind ruffling its feathers

Having a scratch

Youngster again

Bellbird male about to preen

Young male stitchbird

Saddleback collecting food for a young one

Relaxing and looking at Takahe

Juvenile takahe coming in for a look

Looking very prehistoric

Adult takahe coming in for a look

Again looking very prehistoric

Pigeon taking a stretch

Saddleback looking alert

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