Spotting wild kokako

The very first time I saw a kokako in the wild, I was so excited I momentarily forgot my camera and managed to take some rubbish photos of a wing, blurred face and lots of leaves. I didn't care though, I had just seen one of the birds I love free and wild. This must have been over 5 years ago after tramping for hours through the forest during a kokako census. Next time someone suggests walking up a track called 'Billy Goat' - think why does it have that name! Disclaimer... I am not anywhere near as fit or as agile as a goat. It was a long climb!

The past few months though I haven't had to travel as far (or hand) to spot wild kokako. At Pukaha National Wildlife Centre, a recent census counted 40 pairs in the reserve, with one pair coming right down to the front face and can often be seen right from their visitor centre. During this COVID-19 lockdown, I have been working as usual with the birds, and thanks to the peace and quiet, the kokako pair out of curiosity came to see me and what I was doing, allowing me to get quite close to these birds to take their pictures. A young pairing, their songs are hauntingly beautiful, even though they are still trying to form their melody.

Even without perfect lighting, I really enjoyed taking these photos and hope you enjoy them just as much as I enjoyed taking them!