Tuesday, May 3, 2011


We learned much about the threats faced by New Zealand's native birds when it comes to introduced predatory mammals, rats, cats, stoats, and possums. The NZ Department of Conservation spends millions of dollars each year, trying to control their populations. There are several predators free preserves on off-shore islands, but Zealandia is one of the first predator-free, ecological preserves on the mainland. With a predator-proof fence that keeps the mammals out, the birds are free to come and go. The difference is immediately apparent on approach to Zealandia. Riotous bid song fills the air. The cacophony is much like what must have greeted the earliest settlers to the unspoiled island. Kaka are plentiful at Zealandia, boisterous and confident.
A pair of Takahe had been recently introduced to Zealandia. Takahe were thought to be extinct until a small population was discovered in the Murchison Mountains on South Island in New Zealand.
Looking up toward the top of the valley.
Zealandia also boasts a breeding population of Tuatara, ancient reptiles native to New Zealand. Tuatara can live 100 years or longer.
We saw many native species that were impossible to catch with the lens of the camera, Stitchbird, Saddleback, Tomtit, New Zealand Scaup and, of course, the inimitable Tui. A pair of New Zealand Falcons has a nesting territory in the park, but they were not evident during our visit. Zealandia - a must see location when you nest visit New Zealand!!!

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