Kokako Log 1993 by Sid Marsh
Apart from my current work with the Waitekauri kokako, and the two isolated Moehau contacts covered in earlier Kokako Logs, there have also been an additional five sightings of the Coromandel crow in the Ounuora River and Waiwawa River catchments (these two rivers are found, respectively, north and south of the Tapu/Coroglen Road).
Lance Dew, a professional hunter/trapper from Whitianga saw all these birds in the course of possum-trapping operations over the last two or three years. In a letter to me he listed the similarities of these five kokako contacts:
i/ time of sighting: Invariably mid-morning: 9- 10am.
ii/ Weather: No wind, fine and clear. This is because that is the only weather to hunt possums in. I can only see the canopy when pre-feeding, which is done on fine days. When poisoning I look for kiwi sign: eyes are on the forest floor. When skinning all I see and look for are dead possums.
iii/ Bush type: Tawacanopy with plenty of kiekie, nikau and supplejack.
iv/ Birds seen/heard?: All birds were seen only. Notheard, although may have heard one sing on the true right of the Waiwawa - not definite. All birds were singles.
Behaviour: Feeding through trees, and walking/hopping through canopy and supplejack. Contacts brief. Birds VERY mobile. Vegetation made following virtually hopeless. Bird behaviour of all contacts was exactly the same. Have played several dialect tapes to Mill Creek (Ounuora) birds, including Maumaupaki song - a tui-like dialect recorded by Rei Hamon - to no avail ... no response ... Not seen on these occasions either. Birds are EXTREMELY cautious.
Note: I have had reports of kokako (several together!) on Haukawakawa, up the Rangihau Road as recent as two years ago.