Took a long ferry ride out to Tiritiri Matangi, one of the islands in the Hauraki Gulf. It is a pest-free wildlife sanctuary that has had great success with numerous native birds, most notably the takahe, which was though to be extinct from 1898-1948 when a few mating pairs were discovered in Fiordland on the south island.
Since then, it has been conservationists’ mission to bring these birds back. There are still only a few hundred in existence – so imagine my delight as we hiked up a scorching hot trail today and a family – 3 adults and one chick came ambling out of the bush! PK – it turned out that chicks get supplemental food, and they heard the DOC workers’ truck. Nonetheless, it was a rare, once in a lifetime treat to see them…
The adults mate for life. Here is a pair.
They look very similar to my favourite NZ bird, the pukeko, which is much hardier and adaptable and is considered a pest by some. But these guys are bigger and stockier – the size of a very large chicken – with huge red feet and those incredible beaks! I love the markings on them. Here is another shot.
What a day!