It is about time too

 

Yes I know it has been some time since the last post here but it has been such a stressful time looking after the literally hundreds of people who have passed through the Camp over the period we have been here.

So let us start with a view, review of the bird life that is ever present about the camp.

Of course I mean the feathered variety!!!

From the very outset of our coming here we have been amazed at the variety and numbers of native species and introduced species.  Some of the latter have been problematic and we have ben involved in reducing there numbers.

Tui and various species of seabirds have been the most prolific.  So here in no particular order is a selection of birds.

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First and foremost the Tui.  We were woken by the Tui in the camp from the first day we arrived.  They are very numerous and at the time we arrived were busy sorting out partners and territory.  They would start at between 3:30  and 4:00am and would continue throughout the day.  Of late they have all but disappeared, I assume to rear their young and keep out of the heat of the day.  It seems very quiet without them.

Another aspect of their character has been displayed on a number of occasions.  They are extremely agile fliers and we have seen them a number of times driving Magpie away and easily out flying them with very sharp turns and the ability to stop in mid air.

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Next most often seen is the native pigeon, the Kereru, Kuku or Kukupa depending on your location.  These come around the camp at any time of the day to eat berries.  I had always thought that thus was their major occupation but we have a Kowhai tree behind where we are parked and every day there is at least one eating the young tender new leaves in the branches.  They also eat a number of other tree leaves as seen below

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There are always Kotare, kingfishers, around the stream and at the stream mouth.  They are almost invariably sitting in a sentry position guarding their territory against any and all.

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Yellowhammers are seen often in the open paddocks around the camping area and on the margins of bush areas.

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Introduced birds are in plenty as well as the natives.  Rosella parrots are often seen but hard to photograph as they tend to fly swiftly away no matter how careful the approach is

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Californian Quail are often seen and quite a large number of young Quail have ben reared this year by pairs within the Camp area

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Thrush are also plentiful, we have a number of families that come around the van at various times of day.  They always seem to be able to find worms and bugs.  The young ones are well fed and harass their parents if they don’t think they are supplying enough food.

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One of the less desirable residents are Magpies which tend to harass other birds and generally make a nuisance of themselves.

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Seabirds and shorebirds are in evidence on the beach in front of the Camp providing interest.

One of the rarer residents is the Tuturiwhatu the New Zealand Dotterel of which a number nest and breed here.  This year some eleven chicks have been successfully reared.   The parents are very protective and will do anything to distract people away from their eggs, which are layed in a shallow depression in the sand.  They supposedly lay these eggs above the high water mark but spring and king tides will often inundate them if it were not for sandbagging protection put in place by the local volunteers.  The orange/red chest appears during the breeding period.

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Another breeder on the beach is the Torea-pango or Variable Oystercatcher.  There were several pairs nesting successfully on the beach this year.  They also have a number of ruses to attract one away from the nest site.  In fact one dive bombed me one morning and just clipped the edge of my hat as it went past obviously not pleased to see me!

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The two pictures below were taken at Tiritiri Matangi island and show a parent and chick out on some rocks some 20 metres from shore. The second shows the chick swimming back to shore.  One of the very few times I have seen a Variable Oystercatcher swimming

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Another major player is the Karoro or Black Backed Gull.  They are ever present both on the shore, around the cliffs and also within the camp.  They have a colony around the cliffs between Te Haruhi and Pink Beach.  When walking past one is harassed by very low flying Gulls, attacking from all angles.  However I did manage to get a photo of this young chick out for a walk with a parent on the rocks.

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Poaka or Pied stilts are a common site along the beach but I have not seen any young birds.

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Occasionally Blue Herons are seen in the shallows or hunting in rock pools

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And of course there are always plenty of Tarapunga Red Billed Gulls  about, both in the camp (on the scrounge) or on the shore.  The ones below were resting at sunset

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The prize sighting has been the Takahe seen on Tiritiri Matangi Island.  This  island sanctuary is just off the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsular.  It has several of New Zealand’s rare birds.  I had always wanted to visit the island and took the opportunity when Don and Helen were with us to pay a visit.  It was very impressive and the range of birds seen was exciting.  However they were very hard to catch on camera as they were always in shade or against a bright background or moved at the wrong time.  So my photographic attempts failed miserably although I did see New Zealand Robins, Saddle Backs,  Kakako, Tui, Fantail and others.  But the prize was the Takahe which paraded in a place where I could get a good view of parent and child.

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So there we are a wrap of birds seen around and about.  There are still a number that I have not got a decent shot of so expect more in the future.

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One Response to “It is about time too”

  1. Jenny Benton Says:

    Lovely bird pictures Bernice. They are often not easy to photograph, are they?

    Jenny and Robin from Romany Rambler

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