An Open Sanctuary
Tiritiri Matangi is a unique island located at the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. The island is an “open sanctuary” where visitors are encouraged to visit and see rare and endangered native birds in their native habitat. According to the Island’s official website “120 years of farming saw this 220-hectare island stripped of 94% of its native bush, but between 1984 and 1994, volunteers planted between 250,000 and 300,000 trees. The island is now 60% forested. The remaining 40% will be left as grassland for species such as the Takahe.”
We were fortunate to visit Tiritiri last weekend and stay overnight in the bunk house near the island’s historic lighthouse. This lighthouse was an important navigational aid to shipping entering Auckland’s harbour before the era of GPS and satellite navigation. Built in 1864, the cast iron lighthouse was pre-fabricated in Pimlico, England and transported by ship in sections which were bolted together on site. It is over 21m tall and 4.7m in diameter at the base and was originally painted red. It is now fully automated and flashes every 15 seconds.
One of the treats available to overnight visitors is to hear the dawn chorus as the birds greet the new day. This image was taken from the Wattle Track before it enters the bush canopy and captures some of what the island is about.
Sony Alpha DSLR – A200, 1/640 sec, F5.0, ISO 200, Sigma DC 18-200 lens at 55mm