As we were researching the North Island attractions, we discovered that it also has a bird-sanctuary island that is similar to Stewart Island’s Ulva Island. With a chance to see some birds I hadn’t seen yet as well as kiwi, Jonathan and I decided to head over and spend the night at the island’s well-equipped bunkhouse. We rode the ferry to the island and as we walked up the road to the visitor centre, we were greeted by many birds.
Red-crested parakeets, actually in the sunlight so I could get a good photo.
A whitehead, which I think is the more-common, North-Island relative of the yellowhead.
A young takahe.
From the visitor centre, you can see Rangitoto and Auckland, which we visited when we first arrived in New Zealand.
A tui in bright sunlight!
At the visitor centre, they had a display of the largest wetas and their feces! These ladies are at least 3 inches long!
A tui in a beautiful, flowering native tree.
The Little Barrier Island.
The Great Barrier Island. These were named by Captain Cook, who didn’t have very much naming creativity.
The day was pleasant and the island beautiful.
A good close-up of a male saddleback!
We even saw a kokako in the wild!
Can you see it eating a leaf? That is what they eat, but it sure looks bizarre, doesn’t it?
That evening, we went searching for kiwi, but were unsuccessful. We did manage to startle a bird hiding in some flax on a cliff. It made very strange noises. We had no idea what it was at first, but after some research we found out it was likely a grey-faced petrel.
A North Island robin.
An introduced quail.
We actually saw the secretive fernbird. This little guy almost seemed like a mouse darting through the grass. We could only track its movements by watching how the grass moved as it passed under it!
A stitchbird in the wild!
After we saw the weka carcasses in the visitor centre, we had been searching for some large wekas. Finally right before we were catching the ferry back to the van, someone spotted one and told us about it. Sadly, it was only a male, so not as big as it could be. But, it was still pretty cool.