On Friday, Gaye our kokako-nest-finding-wonder-woman and I went to check progress on the nest she’d found under construction. It’s on the ridge opposite our house which looked like a reasonably easy walk but looks can be deceiving. We set off at 5.30 in the morning and crossed the stream. The ridge rose steeply in front of us, too steep to go that way. So we walked along to the end of the track, climbed the ridge and walked back along the top. An hour after leaving home, I collapsed in a heap about 10 meters from the nest tree.
I haven’t done enough of this kind of exercise lately and that was quite a climb, made more difficult by trying not to slip over on the wet tracks, trying to keep up with Gaye and trying to be quiet when we got close to the nest. A couple of hours sitting in the bush was just what I needed to recover. We sat either side of a sizable pukatea tree looking down onto the nest tree. I had a good view of the trunk of the nest tree, a rewarewa wrapped in kiekie but couldn’t see further up.
In the next couple of hours we saw a bit of bird activity at the nest tree but couldn’t tell if they were kokako. They were being very furtive. So we moved down hill to try for a better viewpoint. I stopped at the base of another pukatea on the same level as the nest tree with Gaye a little further down. I had a similar view as at the last place but I also had a window in a ponga fern through which I could see a bit higher up the tree. We waited another hour with no action at the nest tree but were serenaded for 10 minutes, probably by the male of the pair. Then Gaye decided to have a closer look. She stood at the base looking up and I saw a kokako almost fall out of the other side of the tree and fly up towards her mate. Gaye couldn’t see anything from where she was and I didn’t want to yell at her and risk scaring the birds off. Five minutes after the bird left the tree, with my binoculars aimed through my little window, I saw her return and pop into her nest. Just like that, job done.
Now Gaye wants me to check it every week. I need to get a lot fitter.