Thu, 21 Dec 95 08:46:10 EST
Merry Christmas, God Bless Us Everyone!
In contrast to a quiet, almost boring birding year, my recent visit to
Tiri Tiri Matangi Island (an open bird sanctuary) just north-east of
Auckland produced some excellent views of birds I'd never seen before.
Tiri is a small island in Hauraki Gulf being revegetated in a
long-term program to provide habitat for NZ bird species on the brink
of survival. On a short day visit there I saw NZ honey eaters such as
the Tui (a shiny blue-black wattle bird like honey eater with
attitude; Saddle-backs (similar size with russet back); Bellbirds (a
greenish bell miner, but with a melodious call); and the piece de
resistance, the allegedly 10th most endangered bird in the world, the
Stitch bird (The male a bit like a New Holland Honeyeater, but
After seeing the female making frantic forays from the nestbox with
four nestlings (I was told there were four nestlings - the box is
checked very regularly, there is a huge ladder next to the tree) I
came across the male preening himself in a very relaxed way. After
having good views of the bird for about ten minutes, I came upon him
later (the leg bands gave him away) having the best bath in a little
creek. Later I saw another male (leg bands again) preening himself
for some time.
Other birds seen there included the Weka, and the Takahe (a very
endangered short butch equivalent of a purple swamp hen).
After a week of being surrounded by aerial vermin (I have never seen
so many sparrows, mynahs and starlings) a short sojourn in some bush
with real birds in it was a great delight.
If you are in the North Island of NZ, a visit to Tiri is a MUST.
I have some details if anyone wants further information.
Thanks also to those who helped me either directly or indirectly to
make some good contacts in NZ that got me to Tiri.
Merry Christmas and a Preposterous New Year
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