Living with Nature, not dominating it
That is the quote of Richard Yakob-Hoff in a video I was recently watching a Kakapo recovery video. And I yet again found myself in another rabbit hole of this adorable awesome bird - the Kakapo, the night parrot. 

Kia at Red Tarns, the beautiful colours under the wings - this parrot is beautiful

Through my running and photography, I’ve been lucky enough to see some great sights and some of the rarest fauna and flora, endemic mostly to New Zealand. On one of the early photography missions, when shooting astrophotography at Muriwai, I came across a little blue penguin. There it was on the stairs, just hanging out at night - I think it was first time I’ve seen a penguin in real life, and to be in the wild, and so close to us this was a cool experience.

Takahe - just hanging out

On another night also whiles shooting astro, spotting a grey-faced petrel on the trail, yet again just hanging out on the trail, and being able to get so close to it.

Grey-faced petrel, hey there!

I remember the first time seeing a Takahe in the wild when tail-ending The Dual marathon. There they were a couple of Takahe just chilling out. One of the most endangered birds in the world, with only about a predicated 500 of these birds. The story of the Takahe reads something out of a movie, they were thought to be extinct until being re-discovered in 1948, in a isolated part of the Murchison Mountains in Fiordland, South Island. It sounds like a made-up story, but it actually happened. Over the years the population has been slowly increased, and enough numbers now to have Takahe in several eco sanctuaries such as Tawharanui Regional Park, and Motutapu Island - where I first saw those two birds in the wild.

Variable oystercatcher

Recently while camping at Tawharanui, I saw another one whiles out for a morning run. It was just casually nosing around in the shrubs just off one of the main tracks! Several people stopped and to look at it, take photos, videos - as I did. Just so special, right? To think you are looking at animal first thought to be extinct, and small number to be found again! I got talking to someone, who was out on their morning walk - and they told me they had seen a kiwi that morning as well! That’s one of my goals for sure - is to see a Kiwi in the wild. I have heard of friends who have come across of them in the wild - the experience is surreal! 

Silvereye / Waxeye looking cute!

Another experience I’ve had is with the Kea - another one of our unique endemic New Zealand birds - the only alpine parrot in the world, although not as endangered as the Takahe, there still only a estimated 5000 which exist in the wild. I remember having a surreal experience with them whiles doing the Red Tarns trail at Mt Cook National Park. It was otherwise and uneventful morning, not a spectacular sunrise, but as I got to the tarns at the top - I was joined by 5 or 6 Kea, which hung around for so long. This made it such a memorial morning - I still pinch myself - what happened that morning! 


But the most unique birds that we have, has to be the Kakapo. One of our three parrot's species that we have alongside with the Kea and the Kaka. It is incredibly special, like a lot of the native birds - it is flightless and also nocturnal. And they are super cute. They are large and long living bird, but critically endangered, with only about 100 that exist. You know you are endangered species when every bird has a name! I hope one day I’ll be able to spot a Kakapo as well, maybe in an eco-sanctaury, as I was able to see the Takahe.

North Island Kokako, the South Island variant, possibly, extinct 

They say Kakapo were so plentiful many years ago, when you could shake a tree and a Kakapo would fall out. Conservations dream of that to happen again, and hope that if you plant a Rimu tree in your backyard, that a wild Kakapo would make it its home. How cool would that be! As Richard mentioned to start living with nature and not to dominate them. 

Kereru, the NZ native wood pigeon is one of my favs

I always get excited when I see a Kereru, our native wood pigeon. You only see them in forested areas, in West Auckland if you are near the Waitakere’s they are common sight. Once I was out on a run locally near home, and I spotted one - it’s the first time I saw one in a more suburban area. That was really cool. Or even when I have spotted two out in Riverhead Forest - which is a pine forest area - not their hangout place, it’s quite exciting!

Tomtit, cute and small

This is another reason I get excited to be out in nature, whether it is to spot a Tui, a fantail, Tomtit, waxeye, a Kereru, Robin, a Takahe, hopefully eventually a Kiwi and maybe in many years future generations will be able to spot Kakapos roaming around.

North Island Robin

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