Makarora - Mount Aspiring National Park (reviews, reports)
Reviews & trip reports
Bird life in the area is abundant amd is best described by Rhondda Osmers of the Makarora Tourist Centre who says she has “lots of lovely stories about ‘Living with the Birds’ but I’m not sure ornithologists want to hear them! For example, throwing a stone at a kea to try and stop it eating the rubber around the roof of our son’s house bus. The Kea side stepped the stone, looked at it, picked it up in it’s beak and threw it back at me!”
“The Keas aren’t here all the time... thank goodness! And - I can’t say I see any pattern to when they’re around and when they’re not. Same with the Kaka’s. One year recently we had Kakas nesting in the paddock next door, about six or seven of them. That was a delight. They’d feed off the flaxes just outside the backpackers lodge which allowed the visitors to view them up close. Another time we had one around for awhile and it came and sat on the railing of the deck. You should have seen the cat! He really couldn't make out what it was... cat staring bird down... bird staring cat down.
“Yes - the falcons are around. Amazing seeing them after prey. They are just so fast and all the potential prey let you know what's happening through the noise they make. The falcons love hens and have been known to clean out a henhouse full of birds.... much to the owner's horror, I might add. As for the yellowheads... Forest and Bird with DoC have a stoat trapping programme specifically to try and protect the Mohoua who inhabit a territory at the Blue Pools... that's about 5 miles north of us. Sometimes one may see one or two around the camp.
“We have lots of Tuis, bellbirds and pigeons around most of the time, morepork, shining and long-tailed cuckoo. The Tuis can drive me crazy with their repetitive song.... over and over and over again. Sometimes the young ones copy the blackbirds and you'll see them on the ground. I've had them nesting around the vegetable garden. The best time to see the Tuis up close at Makarora is when the flax first starts flowering - usually around early November. The bellbirds chatter as well as sing. When the children were young their very tame pet budgie used to sit on the window sill above the kitchen sink and talk to the bellbirds... that's what it look like anyway. They'd chatter outside and he'd chatter inside back at them.
“The pigeons are often drunk and look out when that happens. They're very low flying and if you're in the way, too bad. I don't think they've ever actually collided with anyone but they can give you an awful fright. Sometimes they fly into windows or through windows and you can imagine the embarrassment when a guest comes to us saying they can't stay in that motel as the window is broken, there's glass all over the place, and a dead bird on the floor. Sometimes when they crash they don't die, they're just stunned and people look after them until they regain their senses. Last spring one of the grandchildren and I watched three swooping and circling right over our heads.... round and round, up and down....quite frenetic. We didn't have a clue what they were doing but suspected it was two males and a female.
“There are rifleman, parakeets, tomtits, fantails (even a black one one year fluttering around our kitchen window). The tomtits are very common and like to follow one through the bush... I guess feeding off disturbed insects. They're often fluttering around the house - my guess is catching spiders.
“Of course, we have many introduced species as well. Blackbirds, thrushes, chaffinches, sparrows etc. We're lucky with our situation in that, while most of the forest in the area is beech, right by the camp we have an area of podocarp forest... I guess that supplies a variety of food for the different species of birds. DoC has created an excellent 20 minute nature walk through this area.
The various species of trees are labelled, there's old pit saws and spiels about Makarora's history.“
New Zealand Bird's would be greatful to birders' willing to review any of our birding pages or contribute a trip report for inclusion on these pages.
All published contributions will be acknowledged on the appropriate birding page and the contributor will receive a copy of New Zealand Bird's birdsong CD. Contact the web diva:Narena Olliver,
|(page last updated 15 July 2007)|
|web diva: Narena Olliver, new zealand birds limited , Greytown, New Zealand. 2006|
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