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2009: Introduction to Tiritiri Matangi

Sacred Kingfisher

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.

Variable 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?

3 comments to 2009: Introduction to Tiritiri Matangi

  • Tiritiri Matangi

    Tiritiri Matangi is a place where one can enjoy the beauty of native bird song amidst bushland. The island is home to about 78 different species of birds, including some of the most endangered ones like Kokako, Stitchbird and Takahe. Besides, little spotted kiwi, Brown teal pateke, Takahe, Red-crowned parakeet, Whitehead, North Island robin, North Island saddleback, Fernbird matata and North Island Tomtit are also spotted in this island.

  • Leanne Addison

    Hi Andy,
    My name is Leanne, i’m a artist that has just come across this beautiful bird tiri on your website. I would love to paint this tiri and wondering if this is possible or how do i go about contacting the person that took the photo. I recently painted a kingfisher for a friend that you can look on my website www.leanneaddison.co.nz
    Look forward to hearing from you
    Leanne Addison

  • Andy

    Leanne, lovely to hear from you. I like your butterflies. If I had $1200… Anyway, click on the kingfisher picture to go to Ian Montgomery‘s site, which has his contact details. He’s a very good photographer.

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