Big Yellow, our club bus, first outing since March! Keen trampers rolled up for the 20 odd k trot.
On the bus, we ascertained that most hadn't been around this area, or if they had it wasn't for a long time. We watched two large Clydesdales happily noshing away close to the bus, as we hit the tracks on a calm morning. First to the track where the Dotterall's normally are, but they seemed to be hiding. Moving along over the paddock tracks, the cool bits of volcanic scoria pepping out of the ground here and there. We stopped briefly at the bird hide to see which winged ones we could spot. Plenty of Oyster Catchers, Herons and Kingfishers foraging.
Before we know it, we're cruising along Kiwi Esplanade at a fairly hot pace, checking out copious amounts of Kingfishers, Herons and other seabirds feeding in the low tide mud flats. A brief connecting walk through the Mangere Bridge township and the vibrant Sunday markets. Believe it or not, we didn't stop and purchase lovely cakery at a very well known, yummy bakery along the way. Shock, horror. Lol! Are these really trampers?! But more comments about Ice cream. Haha! Reaching Mangere Mountain, it's only a 107 metre climb to the summit, but steep enough that a number of the group de-layer in readiment. Lovely views all directions, east towards the most narrow point of the Auckland Istmus, north, west towards the moody Waitak's and our next port of call Puketutu Island.
Dropping slightly off the summit track to find a spot out of the cool breeze for cozy lunch sitting on Kikuyu grass, before heading down the slope to the quick half loop around the sea level crater in Ambury Farm again.
Breezing along with a couple of photographic stops to admire the exceptionally prolific bird life in the 1.5 artificial Watercare Coastal Walkway lake that the birds always seem to love. Swans, many different species of Ducks, Geese, Dabchicks, Herons, Kingfishers plus many more. Arriving on Puketutu Island, we head around the right side of the island, as there isn't a loop right around yet. Backtracking we make a beeline back to the bus, and the sun popping out from the behind the clouds and the tide now at about full low, the Kingfishers with their amazing luminiscent turquoise plumage glowing in the sunshine. I spotted over 30 Kingfishers, and lost count of the number of Heron's and Pied Stilts. It was always a bird spotting tramp and those of us interested in birds certainly weren't disappointed.
Two highlights of the day, the incredible amount of sea bird life and seeing a small pod of Dolphins just as were heading up the Harbour Bridge in the morning!
Another awesome day out with the club and another 20kms smashed out and back nice and early being only half an hour from Takapuna.