Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tiritiri Matangi

***Before finishing the writing on this post I broke my hand, so it starts out wordy then dwindles to near nothing - here's hoping the pictures are worth a thousand words!***

Saturday we took the ferry to Tiritiri Matangi island, an open scientific reserve/bird sanctuary. We were lucky enough to have as our guide a local scientist and professor that has been working on the restoration of this island for the last 30 years.

Tiritiri Matangi ("a place tossed by the wind"or "looking to the wind" or perhaps "wind tossing about") was originally settled by the Maori several hundred years ago, and after much fighting it ended up being owned by the government which leased the land for farming until the 1970's.

The island had very little vegetation after 100 + years of slash and burn farming and ranching, and since becoming a reserve has had almost 300,000 native trees and plants replanted by volunteers. They have also successfully released many rare and endangered native birds (and tuatara) on the island thus making Tiritiri one of the most successful conservation projects in the world (so says the website).

We walked along this beach:
where we played with these rays at the waters edge:We then hiked through the old growth forest - love these ferns!
And then through the replanted forests and took many exciting bird photographs like this:
Go ahead- just try to find the bird! Like I mentioned before we are great bird feeders, but not die hard bird watchers. For truly impressive pictures of the birds on Tiritiri click here.

We popped out on the far side of the island where we ooooohed and aaaaaahed at the lovely view:
Then B sang The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music:
as we walked to the lighthouse which used to be the brightest one in the Southern Hemisphere:
Where we posed for a token family lighthouse picture:
And a picture just for my mom (further proof I still exist. Look ma - two hands!)
Then we ate lunch with Greg the Takahe, an endangered bird from the fjords of the South Island. Greg must be short for Gregarious as he was hand raised and enjoys being around people and stealing lunches (we were told to not feed Greg). I loved watching Greg, one of only 230 living Takahes on the planet, run around the eaters. He was a lot bigger than I was expecting:
On the way back to the ferry we sat at this watering station enjoying the view and the bird calls:
Bird enthusiasts can become Supporters of Tiritiri and are then allowed to stay at the bunkhouse on the island for a small fee. The dawn chorus is supposed to be glorious!

1 comment:

Adrianne said...

wonderul pictures and looks like you are having another great adventure- but I have to admit I skimmed looking for what happened to your hand!! oh no! I hope you are okay!

miss you!