March 16, 2006


Within a few kilometers of dowtown Wellington, the Karori wildlife reserve is making a remarkable effort to reclaim some land formerly used for reservoirs. New Zealand's wildlife has been transformed by the introduction of species from elsewhere that have tended to crowd out the native species; at Karori, very clever efforts are being made to redress the balance.

Here's a Tui; they wear bow ties and sing a lot.


The key is a fence -- a very sophisticated fence that keeps mammals out. Cats and possums can't climb it. Stoats can't cross it. Mice can't burrow under it. So, the inside of the sanctuary is essentially free of small mammals -- just as New Zealand used to be. And that means lots of species that had been isolated on scattered, remote islands can no come back and flourish.


Quite a day of birding -- especially since all the birds are new to me, as is the field guide.

  1. Black shag
  2. Mallard
  3. Silvereye
  4. Paradise Shellduck
  5. Fantail
  6. Tui
  7. New Zealand Robin
  8. Stitchbird
  9. ?Chaffinch
  10. Blackbird
  11. Kaka
  12. Bellbird
  13. New Zealand Scaup
  14. Welcome Swallow

Last year, I mentioned the clever naturalist who named the Superb Blue Fairy-wren. I think the author of the Welcome Swallow deserves some credit, too.