Up early to go with Blair to Tiritiri Mutirangi Scientific Reserve – an hour and a half catamaran ride from Auckland Ferry Terminal to the island with a stop at Gulf Coast? Some dolphins swam along side the boat and we saw lots of blue penguins. When we docked at Gulf Harbour, we saw tons of white-faced terns.
At the reserve we were assigned a guide who was fantastic. She could identify all the plants and trees and helped us see 8 of the 12 special birds on the island on our long beautiful walk that took us from the beaches up through the forest and out to cleared land on top.
The first birds were a pair of NZ pigeons and a fantail near the potty who flew right near us. We saw incredibly old pohutokowa trees (the Christmas flower tree), a NZ bluebird, some brown quail, red crowned parakeets, lots of tuis with the white wattle, saddle backs, bell birds, whiteheads stitch birds, and at the top a welcome swallow, several takahe, English sparrows and a pokeko
I convinced Blair to take the bus back where Alison had set a beautiful table for she didn’t know how many guests. It was two – Nancy and Dave, ex-pat orchid growers who brought 3 long stems each with probably a dozen gorgeous orchids. We had a lovely meal of pork roast and winter veges (NZ spelling of veggies).