Friday 6 November 2015

A crake less spot...not today!

This morning dawned a little calmer and with a little more blue sky than the previous day!  We were up, breakfasted and on the road, collecting lunch as we headed back to give the kookaburra site one last attempt.  And, boom!  There were two birds, one on a post and the other nearby on the ground!  Turning the vehicle around we had good looks at this massive kingfisher, before happily heading towards Gulf Harbour.

We did a little touring around the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, checking a few beaches for reef egrets and other bits and bobs, but no luck on the reef egrets.  We did have nice views of California quail though, a little consolation.  We then arrived at the Gulf Harbour wharf as the ferry arrived, loaded our gear and headed across to Tiritiri Matangi Island.  A very quiet crossing, we actually didn’t see a single tube-nosed seabird, nor a penguin…oh well!

On Tiritiri Matangi, we disembarked, attended the arrival briefing and then loaded all our gear into the truck, whilst we walked up towards the bunkhouse.  Red-crowned parakeet, whitehead, bellbird, tui, Stitchbird, all were seen reasonably quickly.  Then robin, pigeon, all the likely suspects were seen pretty easily.  We then heard there was a Takahe on the road, just up towards the bunkhouse, so we legged it up there, and managed to spot the bird just as it came out of the vegetation on the side of the road.  Great views of this almost prehistoric bird.

We then headed back down and continued along the trail.  Lots more birds seen, and then the call of a kokako carried over the air.  We waited, searching the nearby trees through a tangle of vegetation…nothing…nothing, and then a bird bounded in towards us, followed shortly after by another bird.  We had pretty decent views of the birds, before they then bounded off away from us…let’s hope we could find some more to build on the views had.

Carrying on along the trail we had more saddleback, amongst other things, and then unpacked our gear at the bunkhouse, sorted bedding, and then had lunch.  After lunch, a quick shopping trip to the gift shop, and then back out onto the trails to find more birds.  Again we had excellent views of pretty much everything, including more views of kokako feeding on leaves – this time much better more prolonged views.  We also had fantastic views of three spotless crakes on two different ponds, two of them adults, and one a juvenile being chased by an adult.  Even managed a few photos, and everyone was happy.

We had a beautiful BBQ dinner back at the bunkhouse, steak, lamb chops, salad and potatoes, and even a little dessert.  Of course, more than a little wine!  Then it was time to head out and find some nocturnal action.  We headed out along the trails, and as it got dark things started to happen.  A couple of morepork called, but we couldn’t find them, then the kiwi started to call.  There seemed to be a lot of calling activity, so a promising start.  We heard another morepork, and this time it came right in, fluttered over us and then flew off.  We were in the process of looking for it when we realised there was a kiwi on the road right by us.  It showed well, but briefly, and not everyone saw it…damn!  We kept wandering and finally almost back at the bunkhouse, some more familiar rustling, and this time fantastic views of a male little spotted kiwi.  We watched it feed for several minutes before it headed off into thicker vegetation…awesome!  So off to bed we headed, with dreams of kiwi all round!

Day total – Seen = 50 + 2 heard (Eastern rosella, silvereye); new for the trip = 12; total for the trip to date = 92

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