Mudcat Café message #3232705 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #140326   Message #3232705
Posted By: ChrisJBrady
02-Oct-11 - 03:45 PM
Thread Name: BS: Visiting New Zealand Nov-April - Advice?
Subject: RE: BS: Visiting New Zealand Nov-April - Advice?
No-one has mentioned birding with birds to spot which are rare and unique in the world.

Well you might not get to see a kakapo - there's only about 130 odd left on a couple of rat-free off-shore islands down south.

BUT you CAN get to see real close up birds like the kokako, takahe (incl. George the only swimming one in the world!!), stitchbirds, wekas, kiwis, saddlebacks, black robins, kaka, fantails, tuis, etc., etc., on my most favourite of all places in the world - Tiri Tiri Matangi Island just offshore of Auckland (well a one hour ferry ride away).

Tiri is how NZ used to be before the Maoris and later the Europeans all but wiped them out. The bush before that was a cacophony of sound - which can be experienced on Tiri, especially with the dawn chorus if you're staying overnight.

Then there's that other superb bird reserve off Stewart Island: Ulva Island. Everyone forgets there a third major island in the New Zealand chain.

But during our last visit in Jan / Feb (2011) we were struck by the silence not only of NZ's forests and bush but also the gardens and parks of suburbia. I was continually reminded of Rachel Carson's books "Silent Spring" and "Beyond Silent Spring."

In NZ pesticides are sprayed around with total abandon by the councils and DOC - such as two of the most toxic in the world 1080, and 245T. It is my belief that its the far too liberal use of these poisons, apparently to control non-native possum populations, that has caused the demise of what's left of the native birds outside of the bird-reserves.

Even when I lived in Taranaki and Auckland in the 1970s I remember the bush and gardens teaming with fantails, native pigeons (like large English wood pigeons, tuis, Indian mynah birds, and English sparrows, blackbirds and thrushes. Now only sparrows seem to be thriving.