Orokonui Ecosanctuary Field Trip – 17th-19th November 2017
Trip Guide: Peter
Trip Report: Judy
11 of us went down to Waitati 20 km to the north of Dunedin, the main purpose being to visit the Orokonui Ecosanctury.  Called Te Korowai o Mihiwaka in Māori, this is an ‘ecological island’ wildlife reserve developed by the Otago Natural History Trust in the Orokonui Valley near Waitati. Having come together on Friday night for a meet and greet to find out what we would be doing for the weekend, we met at the Sanctuary at 8.30 on Saturday morning – they opened up early for us so we could spend some time without too many people to disturb the inhabitants.  An impressive amount of work has been put into making this a safe sanctuary – completely fenced with a heavy mesh underskirt to prevent scavengers digging under it and a wide cap on top to stop others climbing over it.  Many opportunities abounded for viewing the birds at feeding stations along the well maintained tracks as well as them flying all around you – you had to be quick !!  Bird calls echoed on all sides. We were entertained by Bellbird, Tui, Grey Warbler, Kereru, SI Robin, SI Kaka, Tomtit & Takehe.  There was also Otago Skinks, Tuatara and native fish to view.  Visit the webpage https://orokonui.nz/Wildlife/Photo-Gallery for more info and to see all the wildlife contained in the sanctuary. While some stayed at the sanctuary for most of the day the rest of us went in various directions depending as usual on which car you were in.  There are some lovely beaches in this area and a couple of intrepid members even climbed to the ‘organ pipes’ a hexagonal basalt column outcrop high on Mt Cargill.  Peter had sourced a couple of houses on TradeMe which suited very well, one of which we gathered at on Saturday evening for the usual pot luck dinner and chatter.  Heading home on Sunday we found a coastal wildlife reserve at Waikouiti and also detoured to see the Elephant Rocks near Duntroon. On behalf of the group a big thank you to Peter for his organisation of a most enjoyable weekend. Judy
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