A day to kill and the mutually agreed need for a good walk to stretch out the ligaments and tight calf muscles after our recent Tongariro experience made a visit to this island bird sanctuary an easy decision . The trip costs $95 per person which includes the boat trip over and back and a department of conservation officer who gives you a run down of the rules for the privilege of visiting. There is a mandatory strip search of all baggage with the focus on ensuring that you have not ” accidentally” inadvertently carried a hitch- hiking rat of a furry ferret with you. They claim that someone one day did actually find a mouse in their bag — God forbid!
The island is officially ” vermin free” The absence of cats, rats, ferrets, opossums essential for making it a suitable habitat for some of the birds that have all but vanished from the nz bush.
The tracks climbed steadily from the beach , zigzagging up through regenerating native bush. We were much too late for the dawn chorus , however the morning smoko chorus sounded pretty good.
The track summit on the western ridge.
A very cheeky Kaka – fearless and a thief capable of opening zippers to get a free feed
The inquisitive NZ Robin. – a rare sight in our forests now
A rare sight – the lovely saddleback – a ground feeder that has nearly died out
An Aussy bird this time – almost indigenous though- never part of the dawn chorus however she has a very distinctive call ( a laugh some would say ) that one misses when apart.