By Arlo (age 11) from KCC North Taranaki
It was the sixth of October, and we where going to Lake Rotokare on a hunt for the wonderful and mischievous animals of Aotearoa. We started of by learning all the native birds that lived here at the sanctuary – there were tons! After that, Ash, our guide, showed us her pet lizards which was so fun to watch. We then set foot into the bush.
Right from the beginning, we spotted native birds. Ash was talking about the chaffinch, and then two or three people spotted a tiny bird among the trees. It was a riroriro | grey warbler. About 2 minutes later, another bird appeared. It was a tīeke |saddleback, unmistakable with its orange back and wattles sticking out from it face. We moved onto the bird feeders where a female hihi |stitchbird was seen. Hihi are named after their very unique clicking sound. We kept walking until we were interrupted by a toutouwai | North Island robin. It seemed as if someone had woken it up.
As we ventured further still, I noticed Ash kept flashing her light in holes to see if any wētā were hiding in holes. Ash stopped, and told us to look at a tree and find out what’s different about this tree. Everyone looked in confusion. What was different about this ordinary-looking plant? Then I saw another, separate plant and looking down the stalk it was connected to the tree. This was a native mistletoe.
Ash spotted a flock of whiteheads, and another stitchbird – this time it was a male with black and yellow feathers. We decided to turn back after an hour and 20 minutes.
When we reached the wharf, Ash told us about all the jobs and the efforts to make this place a bird paradise, and the future of Lake Rotokare. As everyone left, I decided to go look for kiwi – just me and my Nana.
At twelve o’clock, we went back out into the bush to find the illusive kiwi. There were over 258 kiwi in this forest so it was highly likely we would find one, but we didn’t, we found two!
It was an extraordinary day and night and I was so happy to be there.