All in all, our walk around the sanctuary took around 5 hours. There are various tracks, divided into 3 categories – steep, mild and easy. But even the steep ones weren`t that hard. The best part was walking at the bottom of the valley, sheltered from the sun by vast expanse of trees and breathing the fresh moist air. Everywhere we went, we were accompanied by bird songs and calls and at times birds would suddenly fly out in front of us as we were walking.
A few curious birds joined us for lunch when we sat down to eat our sandwiches and potato salad in on of the many secluded picnic spots.
First, a bird hopped onto my bag to investigate. (Toutouwai / North Island robin)
Another robin sat on a tree just behind Michael
And one eventually hopped right in front of Michael
A viewing tower
New Zealand wood pigeon
Mike is wondering who came out of this egg
Now we came to Kaka feeders. Kaka are forest parrots, and, according to Zealandia website, “The word kākā can mean ‘screech’ in Māori. Kākā had effectively been extinct in Wellington since the early 20th century until they were transferred back into the wild at Zealandia in 2002.”
They eat from special feeders which open when they step on them. They would not open for any other bird as kaka seem to bee the biggest flying birds in the sanctuary
While parrots have their lunch, ducks are waiting below for pieces that fall out of parrots beaks
Kaka drinking sugar water
The next party of ducks on their way to have lunch
Takahē are found only in New Zealand. They belong to the Rallidae (rail) family of birds, as do their lookalike but lighter-built cousins, the pukeko (Porphyrio porphyrio). Takahē were once officially declared extinct until they were rediscovered in 1948 in a remote Fiordland valley. Their natural range is now confined to the Murchison Mountains in Fiordland National Park. Thanks to an intensive programme of captive breeding, translocations, stoat control and deer culling spearheaded by the Department of Conservation, the takahē population has seen a gradual increase from a low of 112 birds in 1981 to the current population of 225 birds.
Kāruhiruhi / Pied shag
From http://www.visitzealandia.com: “The tūī is only found in New Zealand. It is one of the few endemic birds to have adapted well to the arrival of humans.
One of the loudest and most common bird songs you are likely to hear in the sanctuary, tūī have two voice boxes to produce their amazing range of calls. Each individual bird develops its own repertoire of sounds that can include bell-like tones similar to the bellbird, plus clicks, cackles, timber-like creaks and groans, organ-like wheezing and long, raspy, resonant notes somewhat like the endangered kokako.
The tūī also produces sounds that are inaudible to the human ear. Singing birds are regularly seen with mouth wide open and throat pulsating but we can hear no sound emerging.
They are also great mimics, copying other birds or, in urban settings, often accurately repeating the ring tones of telephones, cell phones and door chimes.”