Tawharanui, Pt. 2: The Views and the Birds

“The Views and the Birds” sounds like an album name from a trendy modern band that would be playing at Starbucks.

As you might recall from last time, I’m at Tawharanui Regional Park, Marine Reserve, and Bird Sanctuary. If you’re interested in the walk I took around the peninsula, be sure to check out the last post. But if you’re just interested in some great views, you’ve come to the right place. But first…

The Birds

Pukeko are not exactly uncommon, but they are birds. I shall include them here for the sake of completion.

These are paradise shelducks. The one with the white head is a female.

These ducks are not at all rare; they are in fact New Zealand’s second most common waterfowl, following the mallard (i.e. the boring duck).

Their survival might be directly related to the fact that these ducks have no chill and will flap noisily off, honking and hollering, if you so much as think about moving in their direction.

Speaking of common birds, there were many fantails present. These birds are cute and cheerful but their plumage makes them look like they have angry eyebrows over their eyes! So funny. I love these little guys.

This is a rather poor picture of a saddleback, a bird that’s a first for this blog.

Saddlebacks have a pretty distinctive call. You’ll see some much better saddleback photos a few posts from now, so I’ll save more discussion until then.

I foolishly used autofocus for this shot, and of course it betrayed me. This is a red-crowned parakeet.

After I saw this guy I told Taylor about it. Later, when we were birdwatching together he saw one and said “look, it’s a red-crested whatever!”. So now I refer to these birds as the red-crested whatever.

These birds make the sort of “chattering” noise that a lot of parakeet-type birds make. These birds are exceedingly rare on the mainland; while they were once endemic, introduced predators killed most of them off. There are surviving (or reintroduced) populations on a number of islands, especially throughout the Hauraki Gulf, but on the mainland they are largely confined to sanctuaries such as Tawharanui. If you see one in the wild it is, much like the rainbow lorikeet, likely an escaped pet.

The coloration isn’t as stunning as the rainbow lorikeet or the rosella, but it’s still quite cool to find one on the mainland.

The Views

This lagoon is right near the ranger station at the entrance to the park. Even in this shot you can see how lush and green everything is here.

The presence of houses might make you think that this is a photo of the mainland, but I believe we are actually looking at Kawau Island, a fancy place where people who can afford to live on their own island go to stay. There’s not a lot of infrastructure on the island; so much so that most of the houses are connected to their own private dock rather than a road.

This view is from the lookout at the tip of the peninsula. I believe that island there would be Little Barrier Island, with Great Barrier Island being barely visible in the background.

For an amusing glimpse into the variability of weather here in New Zealand, compare the sky color in each of these shots, taken over a period of just under six hours.

You can see Little Barrier Island again in the distance.

Yep, clouds.

Tawharanui is just…so pretty.

On my return hike with the sun setting I kept having to remind myself that I didn’t want to be caught short after dark. All I wanted to do was look at the scenery in the light of the setting sun.

I promise I haven’t done anything to these photos. The green really is just that vibrant.

Looking back along the peninsula to the mainland.

Tawharanui will always stand out in my mind as being utterly beautiful.

I hope you enjoyed these photos! I knew I would have to make a separate post to make sure I got in all the amazing views!

See you next time. There might even be some more birds in the future :)

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