I been hearing them but this morning I manage to spot a yellow crested parakeet, yellow, umm, crest clearly visible and of course, the long tail. There are more about during the day, heard chattering away but not seen.

Later some kaka were heard along with numerous bellbirds, brown creepers, fantails, and the local weka.

The hut is adjacent to the ridge that forms Kiwi Saddle. No kiwi spotted however although they may be in the vicinity.

Two days ago, down on the Wangapeka Road, I ran into an old timer, ie, older than me and his wife who announced they had just spotted a couple of whio/blue ducks. He then stated that sadly the bird life wasn’t like the old days.

I didn’t say anything to contradict him but I have to say I couldn’t disagree more. The bird life is remarkably different from 30 years ago. My qualifications are stating this almost unique. I had extensive time in the Nelson/Canterbury backcountry in the eight years up until 1982, including working for the New Zealand Forest Service doing plant and animal surveys, and being involved, for a short period, on the original cereal pellet tests for the control of possums.

Birds were around, but a few, and the beach forest floor was much more open. You could move around without a track almost in the Pelorus Valley, or up in Nelson Lakes. I probably spend 200 nights in huts over those years, with numerous short trips into the hills, plus a couple of full summers.

Since my return to New Zealand in early 2013 I have had a good look around some of those old haunts and both the numbers of birdlife has substantially increased and the vegetation has changed, with the undergrowth growing back and once rare plants now more commonly seen.

The conservation scene in New Zealand is much more positive these days, helicopter shooting of deer together with the aerial distribution of 1080 poison has knocked back animal numbers significantly and allowed bird numbers to increase.

Around Kiwi Saddle Hut are plenty of young broadleaf that show no evidence of browsing, that’s almost exclusively by deer which seem to have numbers way down, and various pseudopanax and southern rata which were once gobbled by possums, deer and goats, and now line the forest tracks around here.

When I was walking down the Karamea River earlier in the summer I was thankful for the track, even since my first foray back in April 2004 the undergrowth is substantially thickening up, there are birds around. 1080 has made a significant difference to the forest and I’ve gone from being your standard sceptic, too, well, a convert.

The evidence is in the substantial increase in bird and plant life. I’m listening to a kaka squawking as I write this and that has to be a good sign.

Oh, I stayed a second night here, not to climb Mt Luna or Patriarch but just to hang out. The fact I slept in till almost 9 said something about the state of my body.

It was great just mooching about, enjoying the forest in the vicinity, the extensive hut literature and the pleasure of an afternoon nap.

With a small table here it makes for a relaxing home away from home for the day.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Kiwi Saddle Hut

The hut is right at the saddle. | Kiwi Saddle Hut, Kahurangi National Park
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