Kokako Log 1992 by Sid Marsh
To date I have done three aerial surveys of the bush country where the Waitekauri kokako are found. A bird's eye view gives one an overall picture of the structure of the forest canopy that would otherwise be impossible to get just tramping through. An aerial perspective is also helpful in locating areas where other 'undiscovered' birds may be. These areas can then be investigated from the ground.
The Waitekauri kokako, with the exception of Vic/Alby, favour sheltered plots facing to the north-east, and four of these birds hold territories tucked in gullies between spurs and ridges in the upper reaches of small stream systems. The Vic/Alby territory is oriented more to the north-northwest. On March 28 I chartered a Cessna 150 from Waihi Beach Flying Club, and with a passenger, reconnoitred kokako country:
We fly over the bush canopy, for the most part, a rolling landscape packed solid with broccoli-like tree heads; the foliage of innumerable tawa and other hardwood trees. In and around the bird territories emergent rimu, rewarewa and miro are scattered throughout. Many gaps in the tawa canopy are crammed with free ferns - looking from the air like clumps of deep-green coloured daisies. At 2,000 feet and 85 knots we follow the contours of a major ridge. We see some totara and pukatea, as well as dead and dying northern rata trees that have somehow escaped the early loggers, only to fall victim to the possums.
After only two sweeps of the area, the air turbulence we experience cuts short the survey, and we proceed back to the airfield via the Mangakara Stream catchment - to my eye a likely-looking spot where a kokako or two might be found.