Surprise visitor drops in for sweet treat

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 19/09/2012
native kaka
ROBERT CHARLES/FAIRFAX NZ
RARE SIGHT: A native kaka, dubbed Kare by onlookers, was caught feasting on kowhai trees in Eltham’s Redwood Oaks garden last night.

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A native parrot seldom seen in Taranaki has suddenly swooped into Eltham to feast on flowering kowhai trees.

No-one knows where the kaka has come from and Conservation Department ranger Bryan Williams says it has been years since one was last seen in Taranaki.

For the past two nights the noisy visitor has helped itself to the kowhai nectar in Lindsay Maindonald's Redwood Oaks garden in King Edward St.

"He was certainly getting his fill," Mr Maindonald said of the bird his family have since dubbed "Kare the kaka" after the nearby Lake Rotokare reserve.

Kaka are large parrots closely related to kea.

"It's totally unmistakable," Mr Maindonald said.

"It had all the right plumage and dark green top feathers and he's got a big hooked beak on him."

Mr Maindonald said he and other neighbours had heard the kaka making its distinctly loud, screeching calls for a week or so.

Years ago kaka used to visit Taranaki annually, mostly showing up in ones and twos in Brooklands and Waitara, Mr Williams said.

"But we haven't had them there for quite a few years."Eltham's kaka was not tagged, so there was no way of knowing where it flew in from, Mr Williams said.

It was likely kaka, which are now protected, were more common in Taranaki before forests were turned to farmland, he said.

Mr Maindonald had lived in Eltham for nearly 15 years and had not heard of a kaka being seen before.

"I'm pretty rapt it's in our garden."

DOC would like to hear of any further sightings of kaka in Taranaki, Mr Williams said.

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