Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A visit to Zealandia

Now that my days are not consumed by the usual 9-5 routine, I've been making the most of every opportunity. The entire time we've lived here I've been wanting to visit Zealandia, formerly called the Korori Wildlife Sanctuary. And yesterday I made it happen.

I went with Jill, who arrived in a Wellington a few weeks ago from Calgary. Her husband works with Jake and is on the same type of secondment (international assignment) and so we already have a lot in common.

Bird-watching is the primary activity here at the sanctuary, and we saw and heard several. Taking photos of them is a bit of a challenge though. I have a new appreciation for wildlife photographers.

Jake knows his NZ birds much better than I do, but I do know the above is the Tui. (I'd probably get kicked out of the country if I got that one wrong.)

Above is a fantail.

And that's where my birding skills end.

Although birds are the main attraction here, Zealandia is also home to several Tuatara, which are thought to date back to the age of dinosaurs. These guys are tagged with colourful beads so staff can keep track of them better. I tried to get this one's attention, but all i could get was a shot of the back of his head.

One of the cool things about Zealandia is that is surrounded by a giant 8.6 km predator fence to keep out non-native mammals. The photo below isn't the predator fence, but it demonstrates why it needs to be so high.

It demonstrates the maximum jumping heights of various animals: weasel - 0.3 metres; mouse - 0.5 m; rat - 0.9m (wow!); stoat - 1.2m; possum - 1.5m; cat - 1.8m.


Alfie Kaka said...

Glad you enjoyed your visit! Looks like you got some lovely photos. The fifth one down is a male hihi (stitchbird) and the next is a kaka (bush parrot) - this one is a juvenile and only a few months old.

Yer Mum said...

Wow, what beautiful pictures, I enjoyed them so much! Captions very informative (I highly doubt you'll be kicked out of the country :)

jamie said...

Thanks Alfie! I was hoping some kind soul would chime in with the correct names. You sound like you might work there or at least be a big fan. Cheers.

And thanks Mum. Looking forward to seeing you soon.