Fantastic bird reserve – Thursday 19th January 2012

Tiritiri Matangi – the very name conjures up magic! This is one of New Zealand’s open sanctuaries; an island to help ensure the survival of endangered plants and animals. Whilst the public are free to visit, the numbers of visitors are restricted to about 150 people at any one time. It is possible to stay over night on the island, but our day trip was amazing.
There is only one ferry onto the island which leaves from Aukland and then goes onto pick up from Gulf Harbour, where we began our journey.
It is vital for the protection of the birds that everyone maintains biosecurity, so shoes are brushed of mud, food is sealed to prevent attracting mainland insects (or mice!) and everyone is responsible for taking home their litter. Their website is very interesting.
This biosecurity adds a slight air of excitiment and anticipation while waiting for the ferry. Guides come round and check bags and shoes. Today there are lots of children due to the school holidays, but if it were not this time of year, Lianne and her husband would not be able to come with us. They are terribly knowledgable about bird life…and lots of other things. Lianne also adds her tireless energy and enthusiasm.
It’s a totally wonderful day! The weather is warm and there are enough shady places to stop us burning. The landscape we travel through is diverse, from forest to beach to cliff top. The company relaxed and the bird life amazing.
Sometimes when you visit an area which purports to have lots of a particular wild life, you never see any! Here they put feeding stations which team with life. Even just walking down the tracks birds abound. We are able to practice taking really good shots at moving targets with our cameras!
John got some fantastic shots.





I loved the stitchbird with its yellow flash, and the saddleback, who, in the sun, can be a beautiful bright auburn (well I would say that!). Tiny wax eye, and robin dart about, almost impossible to take a photo of these!
But, up near the lighthouse we come across the Takahe with a mate. These large flightless birds have enormous beaks and lovely blue feathers.



Then we see another pair with a chick. How wonderful to see an endangered bird breeding, and the chick looked very healthy! They seemed totally unflustered by our intrusion.
Ok, we did not see a (and some people just ahead of us had seen one!) but for me, this was a perfect day with great friends, seeing amazing bird life.


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