It’s mid-winter and we sit rugged up and ‘all ears’ on a ridge line in the Tutukaka Forest just after dusk.
As Kiwi listening ‘newbies’ we were impressed with the orientation trip and training from the existing team, they had thought of everything! On our own now we traveled in making good use of the last light to find our designated listening spot and park up.
Following the thorough advice given, we orientated ourselves sideways beside a cluster of beehives protected from the flight path of any rogue bees making a late trip back to base and got our compass and recording sheet all ready to go. We poured ourselves a stiff camp coffee, strong and sweetened with sweet condensed milk, while we waited for 1800 to roll around. Our coffee must have been too great a temptation as we were shortly joined by a bee. After several attempts we managed to send it on its way.
Somewhat distracted by the bee we were brought back to the task at hand by the ‘grunty’ call of a female North Island Brown Kiwi. To our delight it was 1803 so we began recording. Loud and clear it punched through the night and was followed by the more desperate, plaintive, repetitive sounding call of a Male just a few minutes later from the same direction and distance. How exciting!
Wrapping our blankets around us more firmly to keep out the cold air we sat transfixed by our mission and recorded 13 calls, including another ‘couple’ before our 7pm hot soup break and another 9 calls before we had finished. In the last few minutes the first couple called again, same direction, same distance but almost in unison this time.
We clambered back into the car, leaving Kiwi’s doing what they do and very satisfied with our first night out Kiwi Listening!
Our Kiwi Listening ‘window’ is all but finished this year, if you would like to join us next year email Mike Camm. No experience necessary! Tutukaka Landcare have a team of volunteer experts who will help you along!