Birds at Vista del Sol, Luxury B&B, Kapiti Coast

There are six bird sanctuaries and nature reserves in Kapiti - see the Kapiti Activity page - these are a real highlight for Birders and the public who can experience the world renown Kapiti Island - a protected island sanctuary through to Nga Manu where you get close to NZ birds and experience easy walks through remaining swamp forest and lowland forest. The photos in the bottom section of this page are all of Naga Manu from a guided tour we went on in November 2009 and include feeding the birds, or you can walk around on your own.

A variety of Native New Zealand''s bushland birds together with introduced species reside full time around Vista del Sol or are frequent visitors here. Tui, Bellbird, Yellowhammer, Morepork Owl, Wood Pigeon, Fantails, Silvereye, Grey Warbler, cuckoo, are resident or frequent visitors together with imported species such as Welcome Swallow, Eastern Rosella Parrots, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Finches, and Sparrows. Other species do visit from time to time including paradise duck, the native swamp hen - the Pukeko, and pheasant. The numbers of birds are increasing as we progressively plant more bird friendly plants and trees. The best photographs we have taken are below - these are only a small selection of the birds that we see here, happenings, more photo's are in the Vista del Sol diary pages.

 

Tui
(Prosthemadera Novaeseelandiae)

The Tui is endemic to New Zealand and with its white bib, beautiful song and metallic sheen to its plumage is a real favorite -There are up to half a dozen Tui around the house and they are in constant song from all points of the property from dawn until dusk. They feed on insects (are actually quite agile fliers), and nectar, with the main food trees being the Banksia which flowers from mid winter to after xmas, the Pohutakawa - the New Zealand Christmas Tree - we have one flowering from July onward, our other Pohotakawa will flower at xmas time, protia, kowhai, bottle brush and grevillia, with other plants assisting eg the red hot pokers, camelia and fruit trees

 

We have seen Tui fly out of the Pohutakawa to the Banksia, then onto the ground, hopping along to climb into a small 2.5 foot high Protia, then down again hopping along the ground to the next smallish Protia, climbing up to raid the nectar - then flying out to the red hot poker plant, perching sideways on the stem drinking nectar - then to finish the circuit off flying over the house roof to the pohutakawa again.

Tui are nesting in the large banksia (they nest in NZ from October to January with 3-4 pinkish white eggs with reddish-brown spots and blotches) as they are very possessive and fly to the same point repeatedly. They chase out any Sparrows and follow them for up to 100 metres or more. As shown on the facilities page the Tui seat is a favorite place to sit with Tui coming within several feet of where you are seated.

 

Eastern Rosella
(Platycercus Eximius)

The population of this Australian bird has grown and spread and originates from cage escaped birds.

This year we have had 8-10 birds in the Virgilia Tree for some 4-6 weeks whilst it was in blossom - their diet comprises berries, seeds, flowers and ocassionally fruit.

They are extremely beautiful parrots and twice the size of the native parakeets. They chatter quietly and take flight when disturbed - they have been with in 4-5 feet of the Tararua Suite windows.

 

Red Crowned Parakeet (Maori name is Kakariki)
(Cyanoramphus Novaezelandiae)

The Crowned Parakeet is a small parrot with red forehead and crown, it is the size of a blackbird and half the size of the Eastern Rosella above.

It is not as common on the mainland as it used to be, we have not seen any at Vista del Sol in 5 years and it would seem to have be displaced by the Eastern Rosella.

There is another even more scarce Kakariki - the yellow crowned parakeet. This picture was taken at Nga Manu.

 

The Fantail (Maori name is Piwakawaka)
(Rhipadura Fulginosa)


Fantails are resident around the house and follow you when moving around the fields and garden - they are very active fliers catching their prey on the wing.

They always seem to be cheerful and have a distinctive call.

This fantail was photographed at the front door of Vista del Sol where it was perched on the native Renga Renga Lily

 

New Zealand Wood Pigeon (Maori name is Kereru)
(Hemiphaga Novaeseelandiae)

Kereru Wood Pigeon 

The Kereru is a large native wood pigeon that visits Vista del Sol - flying in like bombers and arriving as the Virgillia flower buds appear in August and after flower fall when the seed pods are present. 

They often appear in pairs or threes and feed on the buds of the Virgilia tree outside the Tararua Suite windows and occassionally roost there at night. 

They are an attractive bird with feathers of irridescent green with coppery reflections with a white underbelly, a heavy flight and eat a wide variety of folage, fruit and seeds.

 

The Fantail (Maori name is Piwakawaka)

Silvereye or Waxeye (Maori name Tauhau)
(Zosterops Lateralis)

The silvereye or waxeye is an attractive small olive green bush bird with a white ring around its eye that we normally see in flocks as they decend on a crop of berries - they drink nectar with a brush tongue

This Silvereye above was sipping nectar from the bottle brush tree.

 

Morepork (Maori name is Ruru)
(Nionox Novaeselandiae)

The Morepork is a Native bird, and is New Zealand's only surviving owl following the extinction of the Laughing Owl over a century ago.

They are generally nocturnal and you hear their distinctive "more-pork" call at night.

We occasionally see one in the garden at dusk preparing to hunt - their diet comprises moths, insects, mice, rats, small birds. They are silent fliers and we were lucky to gain this photo as it flew between us at dusk and perched in the Virgilia tree over our heads.

We have subsequently seen it at dusk more frequently now as we are looking for it.

Kaka
(Nestor Meridionalis)

The Kaka is endemic to New Zealand and not so common as it once was on the mainland, it has a good population on Kapiti Island which is a protected sanctuary.

The Conservation Department has announced that preditor control is being expanded to parts of the Tararua Forest Park in Kapiti areas to support natural populations of Kaka and the migration of birds from Kapiti Island to the nearby mainland.

The Kaka feeds& on nectar, grubs, berries and seeds.

Lynette fed this bird whilst on a guided tour of Nga Manu

 

Nature Shots at Vista del Sol

Vista del Sol has gardens, landscapes and sunsets - Rene, a guest, took these two exceptional shots of a bumble bee on olive flowers and honey bees on the pohutakawa flowering in October whilst staying at Vista del Sol.

 

Nga Manu Nature Reserve

Lynette and I went on a guided tour of Nga Manu in November 2009, some photos are above, and below are an additional selection.

Nga Manu has the best example of coastal lowland forest and swamp forest in the region with 35 acre grounds with over 700 plant species, 56 bird species and other flora and fauna. It is run by a trust to research, preserve, recover and educate about a wide variety of NZ plants, tuatara, lizards, and native birds. You may spend time alone seeing the attractions in the wheelchair accessible grounds or go on one of the tours to discover or feed Kiwi, Tui, Kaka, Tuatara and other fauna and flora.

The photo on the left shows a walkway through the beautiful swamp forest - Nga Manu has the best example of this in the region

The photo below shows scenery of Nga Manu's Swamp and lowland forest looking toward the Tararua Mountain Range.

 

The two photos below (left) show a native Tuatara - a lizard with strong links to the dinosaur and (right) Oupa feeding the NZ Kea - a native NZ Parrot with real attitude from the South Island

 

The last photos show a mute swan with the native Pukeko and the New Zealand Kiwi

VISTA DEL SOL - View of the Sun