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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: Off Topic:
A night with a kiwi!

Grey Havens

Feb 19 2007, 8:54am

Post #1 of 16 (1199 views)
A night with a kiwi! Can't Post

The *bird*, that is. I've seen my first one in the wild!

Imagine this: a moonless, cloudless night under a sky so packed with stars that you could almost navigate by them. (This is how the skies in Middle-earth must have been: completely untarnished by any human-generated light. You can only see stars like this in the remotest of places now.) Granted, the stars are strange and some are upside-down (at least to those of us used to the Northern Hemisphere!), but that only adds to the magic. Youíre far removed from civilization: the nearest village (of 380 people) is a 35-minute boat ride away. Youíre standing on a flat sandy beach, with waves gently crashing behind you in that incessant rhythm of the sea. The beach curves off in the distance to either side of you, ending abruptly at the edge of shapeless dark hills covered (though you canít quite make it out) in windswept native bush. The beach stretches ahead of you to the edge of the bush -- really a forest -- though it looks like little more than a wall of black in the darkness. Halfway between you and the bushís edge, caught in the beam of a dim flashlight, forages the prize of the evening: a wild kiwi. You sit down on the wet sandy beach to watch it better through your binoculars. The kiwi repeatedly pokes its long beak into the sand, searching for insects, quickly gobbling any it finds. In its enthusiasm it sometimes pokes its whole head into the sand, past its eyes, shaking sand off its face once it emerges. It seems oblivious to your presence, poking and probing and prodding and scratching its neck in a manner suggesting that youíre not more than a rather solidified wave. You watch for some 20 minutes, when suddenly the kiwi turns and bolts over the rise of sand into the bush and is gone.

What an experience!
Attachments: kiwi-tokoeka.jpg (10.1 KB)

Tol Eressea

Feb 19 2007, 11:06am

Post #2 of 16 (895 views)
How neat is that! (n/t) [In reply to] Can't Post


Superuser / Moderator

Feb 19 2007, 2:06pm

Post #3 of 16 (923 views)
Brava! And welcome {[Ro}} [In reply to] Can't Post

What a fabulous encounter and what a wonderful discription of it.

My only encounter with a kiwi (the bird Wink) was at the Auckland Zoo. Since they're nocturnal, the large enclosure you walk through is pitch dark, and the birds' enclosure (they say there are two) is dimly lit in red. Instead of relaxing on a serene beach, I immediately tripped over the double stroller inches in front of me that I couldn't see. Lol!

Still, it was amazing, even then. So congratulations on seeing something so rare in just the right setting to really savor and get the most out of the experience! And thanks for sharing that with us.

Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

TORn Calendar


Feb 19 2007, 3:46pm

Post #4 of 16 (870 views)
a once in a lifetime experience, lucky you! (nt) [In reply to] Can't Post


May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.


Feb 19 2007, 3:59pm

Post #5 of 16 (896 views)
That's awesome! [In reply to] Can't Post

I saw kiwis at the Queenstown Kiwi Bird Park, and that was very cool. I read about the kind of expedition you went on, and wanted to do it, too, but time just didn't permit.

Good to see you here at the new, improved (?) TORn!



Feb 19 2007, 5:11pm

Post #6 of 16 (886 views)
Beautiful post! [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember camping in places like that, where it seemed like the sky was filled with a billion stars. Like you said, such places are few and far between now.

Thanks for the picture. I was going to ask in my reply if you took a picture when I saw the attachment at the bottom of your post.

Tol Eressea

Feb 19 2007, 5:17pm

Post #7 of 16 (877 views)
Wow! [In reply to] Can't Post

That's so cool! I am really hoping to see one in the wild at some point during my NZ travels. We are mostly staying at campgrounds and will be doing a lot of hiking, so here's hoping!

Sincerely, deej - The Artist Formerly Known as djdeathskiss

Atlanta Woot! Moot 2007 - Join us Labor Day weekend; go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/atlanta_woot_moot/

Superuser / Moderator

Feb 19 2007, 5:50pm

Post #8 of 16 (920 views)
Where did you see it Ro? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm heading down to Stewart Island in early March and I hope to go on a night trip in an effort to see a kiwi.

However, I think I've *heard* kiwi around here a couple of nights. I need to check with DOC to see if we have a wild population on the city's outskirts.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories

(This post was edited by Ataahua on Feb 19 2007, 6:07pm)

Grey Havens

Feb 19 2007, 6:43pm

Post #9 of 16 (880 views)
On Stewart Island, actually. [In reply to] Can't Post

On the only non-overnight kiwi-spotting night trip. I'd do that again in a heartbeat! How cool that you're going there soon -- that was our second visit to the island, and I'd happily go back. Though I don't like the ferry ride over; coming back on Sunday, they said the seas were calm (yeah, right!), but I got so sick I nearly puked. Urgh.

Superuser / Moderator

Feb 19 2007, 6:47pm

Post #10 of 16 (883 views)
Would you mind [In reply to] Can't Post

sending me the name of that tour (either by PM or email)? I'm looking at booking something for Stewart Island today so a pointer in the right direction would be grand - I'm not interested in an overnighter either!

Thanks Ro!

We're going to the island by ferry but flying back. I must remember to pack some sea-sickness tablets.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories

Grey Havens

Feb 19 2007, 6:49pm

Post #11 of 16 (888 views)
Thanks! [In reply to] Can't Post

Though actually I didn't take that picture -- I found it on the 'net. Flash photography is strictly prohibited while kiwi-watching, and my camera didn't have a chance of taking a viewable picture without flash!

And camping in places like that is spectacular; I've done a lot of remote desert camping, which is the only comparable thing I've experienced. Too few people get to see those kinds of night skies nowadays!

Forum Admin / Moderator

Feb 19 2007, 7:24pm

Post #12 of 16 (863 views)
Excellent! [In reply to] Can't Post

We have kiwi on our property, and often hear them at night. We've never seen them here, though, only in zoos/sanctuaries.

Promises to Keep: a novel set in 19th Century New Zealand.

The Passing of Mistress Rose

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View

(This post was edited by Kimi on Feb 19 2007, 7:25pm)


Feb 20 2007, 3:49am

Post #13 of 16 (866 views)
my weekend bird encounter [In reply to] Can't Post

This is bound to suffer by comparison to your much more exotic sighting, but hey, I've never seen one of these before:

I glanced out the kitchen window on Saturday afternoon, and saw a very large bird near the abelia bush. Quickly grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos. Afraid it had been feasting on one of my feeder patrons. By the time I went out to look, there was nothing left but a pile of (mourning dove?) feathers.
I think it might be a Cooper's hawk.

ink drawing by JRRT

Forum Admin / Moderator

Feb 20 2007, 5:25am

Post #14 of 16 (863 views)
Great story! And, not that I'm not glad to see you [In reply to] Can't Post

but where's your husband? We need him around here.


Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.

NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


Feb 20 2007, 12:11pm

Post #15 of 16 (880 views)
a rarity where i am...(a few years ago)... [In reply to] Can't Post

was seeing a woodpecker and a kingfisher in the same day.

i live in a rather cool place in a city but this was a turn up for the books!


Elven by name, Hobbit by nature

'Road lead ever on and on
down from the door where it began
now far ahead the road has gone
down from where all began' -FOTR-

and through all the world has changed
the ages come and go with time
and yet those remain unchanged
unto they journey westward
over the sea...

Forum Admin / Moderator

Feb 21 2007, 3:47pm

Post #16 of 16 (1027 views)
Wow! What a special event! (nt) [In reply to] Can't Post


Still 'round the corner there may wait
A new road, or a secret gate...


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