I enjoyed a close encounter with a pair of North Island fernbirds (Bowdleria punctata vealeae) in Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve a couple of days ago. I first heard the pair calling, then observed them flitting from bush to bush, before they flew right in front of me to alight in a coastal tree daisy (Olearia solandri) shrub only 2 metres away. The pair then sang a delightful duet, which you can listen to below.
Fernbirds were thought to be locally extinct at Waikanae Estuary but were discovered there in 2012. The birds most likely recolonised the area from Te Harakeke Wetland north of Waikanae. It’s great to see fernbirds are still present in Waikanae Estuary three years later. Fernbirds nest close to the ground, which makes them particularly vulnerable to being killed by introduced mammals. Hopefully mammalian predators will be controlled to low enough levels to enable fernbirds to breed at Waikanae Estuary this year.