Bill and Mabel's New Zealand Adventures travel blog

Visiting the Oldest Tree in New Zealand

Tane Mahuta (The Oldest Tree in New Zealand)

Sign about Tane Mahuta

Tane Mahuta in the Background

Endangered Fairy Tern

Visiting Waipu River Mouth Wildlife Refuge

Buff-banded Rail

Where We Will Be Going Tomorrow on Our Pelagic Trip

We went to a small estuary and saw the critically endangered Fairy Tern (currently there are only about 40-50 birds). We also saw other New Zealand shorebirds, including the New Zealand Plover (New Zealand Dotterel) and the Variable Oystercatcher.

At the end of the day, we went to the Waipu River Mouth Wildlife Refuge. Established at the end of a peninsula, we were able to see how New Zealand is working to conserve their remaining bird and other endangered populations. Almost wiped out by predators brought by man, New Zealand is now working hard not to lose what they have left. (We spent hours driving in beautiful countryside, but saw very little inland bird life.)

At Waipu, the entire reserve is surrounded by a tall fence. To prevent dogs, cats, stoats, and other creatures from running along side the fence, harassing those inside, a spiral fenced-maze structure is constructed which confuses the predators and also traps them. The protected species are bred and raised at the reserve and released through the other reserves. Some endangered birds, which had previously left the reserve areas to live on islands (without predators) have been found to have returned to the "safe" mainland reserves on their own! Highlight bird of the day: in addition to those mentioned above, we saw some Buff-banded Rail at Waipu.

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