Spooners Hill – Bellbird Bush Wed 29 May 2019

After a quick 10 of us started off on the loop track. Pam arranged to stay back at the truck to walk and listen to the native wildlife at her leisure. After The Loop we proceeded to walk down the track through a display of autumn colours and a morning chorus from the many native birds and then onto the top of Spooners Hill where we met up with a family of four heading in the opposite direction. The track was somewhat overgrown with the lush growth of autumn so we just took our time walking from post to post, mindful of the tomos (deep holes) in this area. From Spooners Hill we had magnificent views of the surrounding landscape as far as the eye could see.

After negotiating Spooners Hill we had lunch in the bush out of the wind in a spot with plenty of sun. Most of the afternoon was spent walking the lower part of the bush which was quite dense at times although towards the road end the route was well defined. It was interesting to see the number of traps set on either side of this track indicated by blue triangular markers. Obviously a lot of rodent eradication is being done in this area. Pig foraging was also noted. Towards the road end of the track two of the party decided to walk up the road back to the Pohokura 5 September 2019 truck. The rest of us returned along the track to where the upper and lower sections meet. We then proceeded along the lower track below Spooners Hill. Returning this way, we had a very pleasant surprise: a falcon flew across the track and perched on a branch close to us. The dark brown plumage allowed it to blend in with the surrounding bush quite easily. Walking under a canopy of red and black beech, and other native trees it was pleasing to note the regeneration of the bush.

On arriving back at the truck Pam told us of her interesting day in the bush. She had identified nine different birds by their calls and gained a small collection of feathers including. While having a snack before returning home we had another surprise. A falcon was seen flying at great heights in front of us as it hunted over farmland, putting on a great arial display. After a chat with DoC officers who stopped in their vehicle when we were about to leave we returned home with a brief stopping at Lake Opouahi to show our Haast members the kiwi facilities. A good day was had by all and thanks go to Pete Hewitt for driving the truck.

 Party: Peter H, Roy F, Rodger B, Philip M, Lynn W, Graeme H, Garry S, Christine H, Pam T, Warren and Fiona G

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