Monday, 5 April 2010

Nga Manu Nature Reserve

Nga Manu Nature Reserve in Waikanae is a small, attractive reserve about an hour north of Wellington. Featuring a range of native flora and fauna, it is also home to a number of bird breeding programmes and reptiles. We spent a few hours at the reserve today, joining the feed out tour, and enjoying a picnic lunch in the sun.

Picnic area at Nga Manu Nature Reserve
We got to see kakariki, kereru, kaka, kea, kiwi, morepork, little owls, and tuatara up close. This was the best look I have ever had of two North Island brown kiwi; they were much larger than any other I had seen before and quite happy to come out and eat in front of us. The following photos were all taken inside the nocturnal house on a limited light camera setting, so the quality isn't all that clear but I think the subject matter is fantastic!

Little owls
North Island brown kiwi
My mother has always been a bird lover and my brother and I have inherited this trait. I love birds of all kinds and really love visiting large open aviaries, my best friend's worst nightmare. As a family, we would often stop in at aviaries or bird attractions while on holiday or on our way somewhere. Sometimes it was just stopping near a pond to feed ducks (for us, they were always called duckies). We would grab stale bread and entice the duckies towards us, grinning madly as they quacked around us and gobbled up the food. My mother would always try to catch one (usually successfully), but it always ended badly when my younger brother would attempt to do the same (always unsuccessfully) and we'd end up leaving with him very grumpy in the back seat. It was the same experience every single time and I loved it.

As soon as we arrived at Nga Manu, I spotted some duck feed at the counter and quickly added it to our admission price; another activity on my 101 in 1001 list - #22: Feed duckies. There is something so satisfying about the instant congregation of bird friends that forms whenever free food is on hand. These duckies were no different, gobbling down whatever they could munch from our hands and following us when they thought their food source was moving too far away from them.
Satisfied duckie friends

Nga Manu is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area or want to show visitors a slice of New Zealand's natural heritage. Being smaller than similar reserves, it's easy to get around and a much more relaxed way to enjoy the beautiful grounds and scenery.


Kelly said...

Feeding ducks is one of my worst nightmares. They swarm around you ready to attack, staring you down with their beady little eyes of doom.

Not a duck fan at all, although nice if roasted correctly. :P

Anonymous said...

How fun! I added feed the duckies to my new 101 list! (i started a new blog just for the 101) thanks for the inspiration!

donna said...

Such wonderful times!!!! Sounds like you had a blast!

J Bar said...

Looks like a beautiful place.
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