We enjoyed four lovely days at Whangarei, about a hundred miles north of Auckland. It was a human-scale city with spectacular coastal scenery nearby. I swam in the ocean twice but as the water was not bath temperature Shirley only deigned to paddle. We saw two captive brown kiwis at the Kiwi North project. How salutary it is to recognise that these precious birds became endangered just because of Europeans' introduction of dogs and stoats and earlier the Maoris' introduction of the Polynesian brown rat.
Maybe it's just me but I feel a sense of sadness when I think of how New Zealand must have been before human beings ever happened upon these remote islands. It was surely a Garden of Eden with unique flora and fauna. Some of that still survives but much is lost or compromised by the things that man brought here. The towering kauri forests - containing trees five centuries old - must have been a true wonder to behold.
Anyway - here we are at Miranda - the NZ Shorebird Centre. Unfortunately we missed today's high tide with its promised excited conglomeration of shorebirds but in the late afternoon we walked upon the shoreline and saw some interesting birds pecking around in the mud flats - including white-faced herons, godwits and by an electric fence we found the sad corpse of a dainty yellow hammer.
|Miranda - a picture by Katherine de Chevalle who we hope to meet tomorrow.|