Please consider the images to be copyrighted and ask permission for any use – but please share this blog page. Thank you. DEClapp
Over the years Jack Clyne and Rosie Stewart have shown me a great deal of their island country. It has been my pleasure to work with them and learn from them. I was prompted to do this post because Jack sent me the Kea book that he always brought on tour with us. It arrived the same day that Rosie informed me that her kōwhaitree was in flower and attracting a gang of tui that were wildly slurping the nectar – those two are a couple things to Google (I mean the plant and the bird not Rosie and Jack).
Rosie lives outside Auckland and Jack just north of Christchurch on the east coast of the South Island. Auckland is a city with a grand harbor located on the northern part of the North Island. There is one other largish island, Stewart, and many many small bits and pieces. The country of New Zealand has respected the Māori heritage and has used many Māori names for towns, plants, festivals, and animals. Thus the two names that you will now Google –right?
One of the DOC signs implies that you should keep your eyes on your shoes as the Kea will “toy” with them. My favorite time at the Hermitage Hotel at the base of Mount Cook is just around sunrise when the Kea will arrive at the maintenance area and putter around the leavings from the day before. It is as if they are looking for bits and pieces to finish a project.I mentioned that there are several New Zealand parrots and a few parakeets as well. The Māori names for the parrots all seem to have the same base sound; Kea, Kakapo, and Kaka. The Kakapo is a large, nocturnal, flightless parrot that is now very rare and restricted to a few predator free islands.
This parrot is one of the creatures impacted by the European predators that arrived on the islands; cats, stoats, possums, and dogs became predators of the many flightless birds; goats, deer, sheep, and now cattle have in turn greatly altered the native vegetation. New Zealand has an active program to remove these alien creatures (and plants) and try to return to the avian rich wildlife it had before humans arrived.