Big Yellow departs Takapuna, loaded with a bundle of keen planters, upon arriving at Silverdale the bus suddenly becomes fairly full! Bumper crop of planters loaded on there.
As we arrive through the main entry of Shakespear Regional Park, we follow the "planters" signs to the southern end of the park at Te Haruhi Bay. Alighting our club tramping bus, we're greeted by more keen NSTC tree planters! Yay, what an awesome group! Walking up the hill to the planting site, another group of NSTC planters. We're going to get a serious number of trees planted today!
After the usual boot soaking sterigene pad, we head in for our tree planting brief and team up with spades and fertiliser pellets. This year, the trees had already been laid in suitable spots, so they don't end up over planted to ensure best future success of each tree. That was really good to see.
Remember I was saying, we're going to get serious number of trees planted today, we sure did that and in a steep gully! Flax, Puriri, Caposma, Kahikatea, Kanuka and Manuka. Due to the overall large numbers of people there enjoying the incredible sea vistas, stunning weather and relishing in that whole warm, fuzzy feeling of having planted substantially more trees that was expected for that day, in fact half of the trees that had been allocated for the following weekend also! Wow! Not to mention a lot of laughs with our awesome crew and socialising with lots of other planters.
It was a definite bonus, that there wasn't copious amounts of mud to slide around in either as we did in atrocious weather the previous year. It was actually fairly dry. Planting done, we head back up to the tents going through the sterigene station again and then hand sanitising station before enjoying a snarler or two and hot drinks. Not to mention that they brought around biscuits and fruit whilst we were planting. Very well organised as usual. Nourished and watered, we head off for a shortish tramp, the scenic way back to the bus reverse along the Tiritiri Track, down and up the hills, beautiful views in all directions, glimpsing over Pink Bay, discussions around the colouration of the bay before heading up the lookout highpoint 360 degree panoramic scenery.
For those that had read the pre-amble for this trip, knew we were going to try hunt out the week before trans-located Hihi (Stitchbird) pairs. Heading down the Heritage Trail as we move our way through Waterfall Gully, the distinctive Stitchbird song is audible! Quietly and excitedly progressing along the track, at the first feeding station, a resplendent male Hihi was making his presence known. We didn't spot any of the less distinctively coloured females. On our way through Waterfall Gully, we make the most of the opportunity to photographically capture the lovely waterfall, before making our way along a new track. During Summer this track is alive with many native birds and during Springtime, many cute birdy babies.
Dropping back down to the beach, our brief 2 or so hour tramp is almost over, bar walking along the beach spotting Variable Oyster Catchers and Dotterall's. Absolutely amazing day out with fantastic team of trampers, all knowing we've done something extremely important for the environment and for the native bird life and creatures that all rely on these trees for homes and for sustenance during the much shortened planting season this year. Even more exciting to know that many of our group had never done any community tree planting, who are now hooked!