Korimako fledgling holding a berry in its beak

A Busman's Holiday in Bushy Park

Last weekend, Linton and I finally went venturing up to Whanganui to visit the fenced sanctuary at Bushy Park - yes a busman's holiday! We stayed at the old homestead and walked all the trails, admiring the incredible forest with ancient rimu and rata,  dripping with lichens and epiphytes. Although the Zealandia bush (our regular haunt) is filling in, it's got centuries to go to look like Bushy Park.
Toutouwai (New Zealand robin) on a lichened branch
Toutouwai
And of course the birdlife was amazing too, with baby birds abounding. The toutouwai were everywhere, and usually too close to focus on with the big lens. The korimako kids were begging incessantly while gorging on muhlenbekia berries. And the highlight was seeing a wee ruru trying to snooze on the side of the track, despite the protestations from the tīeke and hihi.
A fledgling korimako (bellbird) holds a single berry in its beak
A korimako fledgling gorging on muhlenbekia berries.
A korimako (bellbird) feeds its fledgling.
A korimako feeds an incessently begging fledgling. The fledgling looks like it might have jumped out of the nest early as it's feather shafts are still unravelling into feathers.
A male hihi hanging upside down with a berry in its beak next to a spray of muhlenbekia berries.
Muhlenbekia berries were the favoured mid-February food source. This male hihi was also feasting.
A ruru sititng on the ground with big yellow eyes.
A ruru roosting on the side of the track ignoring the protests from the local hihi and tīeke
We were also fascinated to see flocks of cockatoos and eastern rosellas (perhaps attracted by the nearby walnut farm!), making us feel that perhaps we had crossed the ditch and were having a long-overdue Aussie adventure with Sydney-based Aunty Helen.
A flying cockatoo, wings stretched
One of many sulphur-crested cockatoos
And the flocks of kererū - I lost count at 30! The abiding sound of the bush was the whomp-whomp-whomp of those big wings crashing around through the bush. 
Three kererū (wood pigeons) perched on top of a kōwhai tree
Three kererū in a kōwhai, perhaps plotting their next aerial circuit around the sanctuary.
We would have spent more time exploring the park and Whanganui itself, but Level 2 came down unexpectedly so we decided to head home early, consoling ourselves with an evil steak and cheese pie in Foxton while charging the car.

​Where do you recommend we head on our next outing? There's so much of New Zealand we have yet to explore.
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8 comments

I haven’t seen a Plate-billed mountain toucan at Bushy Park! How did that sneak in? :-)

Brenda Pinfold06 Mar 2022
OMG that’s just crazy! No idea how that happened! Image replaced, but wouldn’t it be amazing to have toucans in NZ eh!

Judi06 Mar 2022
You MUST visit me in Dunners. :) There. You have been summoned. lol!!!
Thanks for the amazing photos and great tip about a new place to visit!

Eeva24 Feb 2021
On the list and I hope to make it happen this year. My Aunty Irene and Uncle Mike are currently visiting the peninsula and posting photos of penguins and albatrosses on FB. Just need to time it for when the birds aren’t all moulting eh!

Judi24 Feb 2021
What a wonderful story Judi, so glad that you both got to see more of our flora and fauna. Great images as usual.

Sam Edmonds22 Feb 2021
Thanks Sam – was a wonderful visit – we’ll be back!

Judi22 Feb 2021
beautiful images Judi, I am in the process of redoing the Kokako trust Kaharoa website. We had talked about bird images to use I will send them your contact details. regards T

tony22 Feb 2021
Thanks Tony! I’d love to help, just wish I had some decent kōkako photos to share. Mostly bum shots LOL!

Judi22 Feb 2021

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