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A Silent Kereru

A silent kereru is resting aloft a tall dead stalk of a kanuka tree. Its neck is stretched to full length so it is awake and alert as though keeping an eye out for the next best tree of ripening autumn berries. As the eye descends, low and behold, there are two more kereru slightly below the first. They are also upright as though waiting for the next instructions. By now our single file of fourteen Monday trampers have been silenced as gradually the message had been passed down the line. A bend in the track means that the back people are having difficulty seeing this special sight of three kereru. A minute passes and to make more room for viewing one member decides to move forward. The sudden but silent movement changes the scene. The big birds have been alerted. As one, we release an astonished cry, as from the trees on the opposite and higher side of the track where no one had been looking so intent we were on observing high and to our left, three more kereru silently rise up and follow the first three off over the valley.

Where did this happen? In some isolated back county bush available only to intrepid trampers? Not at all. The Mangawhai Monday tramping girls were enjoying a misty crossing of the new Botanical track in the Tanekaha track complex of the Brynderwyn hills. This track was just opened on Saturday April 21st.

Access is from 300 King Road Mangawhai (that is three km's from the Cove Road turn-off). The Botanical track has been built by the Mangawhai Friday trackies and follows an even level as it twists and turns in and out of ridges and valleys through lush maturing regenerating bush. Our group took three hours for the loop including a fifteen minute break for morning tea. Because the rain can make the descent slippery we decided to enter the Botanical Track from the Tanekaha Forest Track. After about twenty minutes up hill there is a left turn onto the Botanical Track. Usually the entry is across the bridge from where we would take the Waterfall Track. Just beyond the first waterfall the Botanical Track turns off to the right. As the name, Botanical suggests, several of the trees have been photographed and named and have descriptions. This is a work in progress.

No dogs are allowed as it is in Department of Conservation land and in a kiwi release area. Please always remember to spray boots and poles when entering the area to help the effort towards controlling kauri die-back.

Jean Goldschmidt

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