The bird life on Maungakawa Reserve, just north of Cambridge New Zealand, is amazing. When the berries are ripe, the tuis warn each other as we approach. Then there is the whoomp whoomp of the wood pigeons as they move from tree to tree. Fantails flitter around us gleefully snatching at the insects.
The Duke doesn’t bother with birds – there’s too many interesting smells on the ground.
When the Thornton family built their house on this hill in 1891 Tom Brown was employed as their gardener. His legacy is still seen at the entrance to the reserve – boxus, laurel, camellias, rhododendrons, conifer, privet grandiflora and mulberry.
Off to the left of the drive is a very old ash playing host to some orchids. Down through a pathway is found a fan palm, porapora and another very old laurel and magnolia.
Up by the trig there is native regrowth – cabbage trees, rewarewa, mahoe, mangeao, houhere, flax etc. Behind the fence by the Gudex Memorial are cedar deodora, ash, kowhai (planted 1992); ferns, orchids and kiekie growing on host trees; and honeysuckle, rangiora and alearia. And the daffodils in the spring are beautiful.