By 1984, in common with swathes of New Zealand, farming had stripped Tiri of nearly all its native bush. In ten years supporters of the island, and volunteers, reforested over half of it. They also, coyly, “eradicated” mammalian predators, i.e. the Polynesian rat. Poison did for ‘em, as I suppose it still does the world over for similar problems – poison or shootin’.
I skirt delicately round this issue much as I lurked one Sunday on the perimeter of my ferry’s disembarked passengers. We listened to a bio-security spiel, which a sacred kingfisher cheekily upstaged by perching behind the speaker. Variable oystercatchers provided another distraction. The all-dark and intermediate phases of these shorebirds are easy to identify but the pied version needs some care to separate it from… well, pied oystercatcher.
Being the first day of March, the pied oystercatchers should have been true to their alternative name of South Island oystercatcher and breeding down there. They then disperse north for the winter, so the individuals on Tiri were most likely variables.
All this, plus earlier shearwaters on the crossing, before I could get a crack at the true stars of the show, the birds that I had no chance with on the mainland. Which would be the first new tick? ⇐ ⇒