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Summer highlights from a volunteer guide

Summer highlights from a volunteer guide

31 January 2020

By Rosie Cahalane

I've now been guiding for two years and it is such a joy to introduce visiting groups to the maunga. It has helped me to truly appreciate the uniqueness of our environment and wildlife while at the same time meeting lots of interesting people, including locals with stories about the impact of the project (bellbirds/korimako again in Cambridge), conservationists from overseas dealing with their own challenges (endemic rodents) and visitors appreciating that they're seeing one of the rarest birds in the world. Which brings me to our takahe family.

Watching the changing dynamics of the takahe family with their new additions over the last weeks has been really enjoyable. From seeing the first webcam showing not one - but wait - TWO ever so cute chicks (a lot of cheers and squeals from all watching), to my first glimpse of the family as they grazed by the fence line. Later, once the family were well established it was a very special experience taking tour groups through, -- seeing big sister and mum feeding the chicks. Takahe are very much a family group, always closely feeding together, chatting away. This week I was talking to a group outside at the Tuatarium and there was a squawk from one of the young women and right behind us emerged the entire family. We were able to sit and watch entranced for ages. Guiding that day wasn't too difficult!

The other highlight was our recent “Christmas on the Maunga – Locals Open Day”. So many Waikato people of all ages, came to visit and I have never seen or heard so many birds.

It is a lovely time to visit, enjoy the cool serenity of the forest or you're guaranteed to see tuatara basking in the heat. And did I mention the ever-so-cute takahe chicks……?