07 November 2011

Birds About Pukawa

Pukawa is rich in songbirds. Bellbirds and tuis create a great dawn chorus.  Kereru may be seen in flocks occasionally and every winter one or two of these strip our kowhais of leaves and later tackle the flower buds as well.  If I speak to them severely they just ignore me as if they own the place (which they do!).

Kereru Stripping Kowhai Buds
Bush Robin on Tihia Track
Other birds are also present and occasionally tomtits, whiteheads, grey warblers, shining cuckoos, bush robins, moreporks and NZ Falcons are seen among the ubiquitous silvereyes and fantails.  Californian quail can be seen in flocks and on the adjacent farmland magpies are becoming a nuisance. Up there also we see chaffinches, yellowhammers, redpolls, goldfinches, dunnocks and greenfinches.  The Australasian harrier is always cruising up and down above the bush.

Further afield, as on Tihia, Urchin or Rotopounamu other species are present as well.  Near the top of Tihia I often see fernbirds and on the way down the track, kaka and kakariki and longtailed cuckoos are often heard and seen in addition to the species seen at Pukawa.  In an earlier blog I mentioned hearing a kiwi calling in the middle of the day on Urchin. Despite the success of the  Pukawa Wildlife Management Trust in reducing the vermin in the area  and increasing the birdlife, I still think the smaller birdlife in the area are in a precarious state.

It is about forty years since weka have been seen in the area and although the occasional kiwi is thought to have been heard, their presence is dubious.  People still bring their dogs to Pukawa and let them run loose and they still dump their unwanted (and un-neutered) cats in the area. Yes, the worst problem is man.
Fern Bird on Tihia




Lets hope our clever (?) brains eventually devise a way to permanently reduce or eliminate the vermin responsible for this state of affairs.   In the meantime we mustn't take our foot of the pedal.