Saturday, 16 April 2011

Tiritiri - where are all the kiwi?

We were up and away from the Hotel early-ish and heading up to Gulf Harbour, along the scenic Whangaparoa Peninsula.  We caught the ferry across to Tiritiri Matangi Island after seeing a few things including reef egret and pied shag at the harbour.  On the crossing there was little wind and a flat calm sea, but good flocks of fluttering shearwater skimming the surface, the odd Australasian gannet and then a single flesh-footed and Buller’s shearwater.  A single Arctic skua was also seen briefly, and a small ‘pod’ of little blue penguins distantly.

On the island we had our debriefing and then we headed up to the wharf damn to see the pair of brown teal showing well there.  Then it was off up to the bunkhouse hoping to see most of the necessary birds along the way...and we did.  The only misses were a male stitchbird, normally there are more males than females evident, but not at the moment, and kokako.  So at the bunkhouse we settled in, had lunch and then headed out for the afternoon.  We caught up with several male stitchbird, an awesome pair of kokako which sang for quite sometime giving a beaut display, several fernbird (they seem to be all over the island now), and finally brief views of a spotless crake.  By the end of the afternoon all necessary species were checked was just the nocturnal little spotted kiwi to go.

I prepared a pretty good BBQ dinner, we washed it down with some nice Hawkes Bay and Marlborough wines, and then headed out just after dark.  IT was relatively calm and dry, but a big bright almost full moon...and things were quiet!  Not even morepork called for some time into the evening.  We ended up covering a huge amount of the island, had kiwi calling on several occasions – one time from 25-30m away a male called and a female responded.  We could hear him run across to the female...and then they were grunting away in the bushes for ages...but they just wouldn’t show!  Very frustrating.  We did find two tuatara which was a nice consolation, but I’m afraid no cigar.  It was a one of those nights where things just don’t work out, but we gave it a good go, finally getting to bed at 1:15am.  It was a fast sleep!

Photos to come...

Bird of the day – to come...
Day total – Seen = 52 + 1H (little spotted kiwi); new for the trip = 11; total for the trip to date = 92


  1. I love Tiri! Shame about the Kiwi. Nice work spotting the Kokako, crake, fernbirds and tuatara!

  2. Hi Brent, where did you spot the Tuatara?
    down ridge road?
    I am going to tiri soon so will have to keep a eye out for them!

  3. Yep Tiritiri Matangi is a great place. The Supporters of Tiri have done a great job and the birds out there are fantastic. Shame about the kiwi alright...but not an easy one.
    Tim drop me an email.