Day 282 on the Road
Kiwi Spotting in Whakatane
This evening we are joining the Whakatane Kiwi Trust for their Kiwi Night Walk in Whakatane! If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities then head on over to our epic YouTube Channel!
We’re gonna go at night kiwi spotting in a mountain nearby Whakatane. This is gonna be epic.
Previously on day 282 part 1 we went to kayak in the beautiful ohiwa Harbour. We showed you the amazing mangrove lying beneath the water and the stunning pohutukawa tree lining the shores of the beach. It was absolutely amazing and if you guys don’t want to miss anything make sure to subscribe. but we are already moving onto the part 2 of our day where we are joining the awesome team from the Whakatane Kiwi Trust for a night tour in a local forest in the hope to find the elusive yet iconic kiwi bird.
So guys what do you think are our chances to see a kiwi bird tonight.
To see a kiwi bird probably about 30%.
What about you?
I’d say more like 15.
We join our two guides Bridget and Russell from the Whakatane Kiwi Trust and they tell us more about the habits of the local kiwi.
There’s lots of pairs of kiwi in this place. And the good thing is they come out and call. they’re territorial so they start calling once the sun goes down and it gets dark they start emerging from their burrows. They don’t co-habit as much males and females as well so they call to say where are you? And find out where their partner is as well.
But Russell, the insect guy at the Whakatane Kiwi Trust, is quickly distracted by a bunch of massive tree weta as well as heaps of spiders. There is really a ton of insect life at night in the New Zealand forests and we are in prime place to see heaps of awesome specimens.
We are currently looking at some really unique spiders which are sheet web spiders because they make really complex spider webs which almost look like sheets. Alongside the walk we see a ton of other different spiders along the way but honestly I can’t remember the name of all of them. The one I know though is the weta. It’s not a spider it’s a massive cricket which is actually really big and russell loves to play with them.
This insect crawling on my arm is not one of the biggest weta that you can find in New Zealand. In fact, New Zealand is home to the heaviest insect in the world which is the giant weta.
I can’t believe that after 282 days this is the first time that Robin and are taking a walk through New Zealand forests at night and they are so so alive when the sun goes down not only are we actually hearing the calls of kiwi birds in the forest around us we’re also hearing the native owl which is the ruru otherwise known as the morepork and of course the forest is alive with insects. New Zealand is more known for its birds and maybe it’s marine mammals but we had no idea that there was so many insects.
She’s wrapping it up like a burrito and taking it away.
As you can tell we are having way too much fun observing the night crawlers around the forest.
We are really having a lot of fun observing in the Ohope Scenic Reserve which is a place where you can access in Ohope even during the day it’s completely free of charge and it’s only a short drive away from Whakatane but those night tours are run by the Whakatane Kiwi Trust and they share their insights every single Friday evening in April, May and June. And it’s totally worth joining them.
It’s absolutely amazing how much interaction we get to have with all those really creepy insects usually you see an insect and you’re like urgh! and you don’t touch it but because our guide know how they behave they give us plenty of fun exercises to do with them like you saw this weta crawling on my arm or this spider wrapping another spider into a burrito or even just trying to get a spider to attack one of the piece of leaf. But we spot some undesirable inhabitants of this forest.
So that’s really rare to see possums like that here.
It is. You don’t often see them hit by cars on the road around here and we haven’t done possum control using poison for the last five years because there are so few in here we haven’t needed to. So we obviously need to get that one.
Although possums look cute and fluffy they are actually considered a pest in New Zealand because they eat all the native vegetation and pretty much destroy the environment that native wildlife relies on.
And it’s for that reason that the Whakatane kiwi trust exists so they can do pest control and keep these forest free from possums.
Moving on now, Bridget is on the trail of a pair of kiwi birds which she has found on here radio tracking device. We can also hear them deep in the forest as well which takes us a little off track and we get closer and closer to those rustling noises of the kiwi birds. They also have another trick to play recordings of kiwi calls.
But after about 15 minutes of following the calls of the kiwi birds through the bush we eventually lose track of them but nevertheless there’s still plenty of more wildlife to be found in New Zealand forests like this huge centipede.
If you’re a little bit iffy about getting off track at night I understand and I wouldn’t do it either. We only do that because we are with such an amazing bunch of guides. If you are doing that on your own though the Fairbrother Loop Track in the Ohope Scenic Reserve has heaps of little signs along the way that help you do a self-guided tour around the area even at night but make sure you bring your torches.
But our guides are now taking us really at the bottom of the forest. In fact, we are down the stream because we are looking for some more local wildlife and those are the eels. We’ve shown you eels so often here in New Zealand they are called tuna in Maori and were part of their food diet when they came here because well there was not that many sources of protein.
So we’re crawling our way outside of the forest. It actually took us quite a few hours to make our way all on our loop around around this night tour and it was really awesome way to get to see New Zealand forests like never before. We saw so many species we didn’t know existed. Sadly, no kiwi bird tonight.
Aw look at that I found you the kiwi bird.
After about 20-30 minute we realise that that kiwi bird just ain’t coming. So we call it a night on the kiwi birds but we definitely heard quite a few out there but we didn’t see any tonight and that just elusive those little kiwi birds are.