|Ngaruawahia Sewage Ponds|
For about 8 months of the year, most birders wouldn't look twice at a place like Mangatawhiri. But interestingly enough, during winter it is home to one of New Zealand's newest species, the Galah. For some reason, every year Galah migrate south from Ponui Island in the Hauraki Gulf to this one spot to feast on the leftover maize stubble after harvesting. They were introduced about 50 years ago, and have really put this tiny village on the map for winter Waikato birdwatchers. Anyway, that was my main target species for the day, so off we went. After fruitlessly scanning the maize fields, we ignored the usual spot and went up Mangatawhiri Rd to the old Castle Cafe. Despite my seeming bird-blindness, Michael spotted three sitting very pretty in a pine tree, and eventually I saw them. Galah was my first and only lifer of the day, while Michael, the more experienced birder, just witnessed my delight at seeing this rare and beautiful bird, number 34 for the day.
|My awful photo of a Galah - blame the camera!|
|The view from the Falls Rd Lookout|
|The moon rising over the West Ponds|