The Karearea pair at Zealandia hatched a chick on around the 28th August and last week some brave experts from Wingspan went in and managed to put an identification band onto one of the chicks legs (as documented here, and there are more photos here from Steve Atwood who was lucky enough to attend). Yesterday I got an email from a new friend Niels, who I have met a few times recently on visits to view the Karearea, and he included a photo showing the chick out in the open, viewable from the track. With a chance that the chick wouldn’t be moving far Keryn and I went to Zealandia this morning to have a look. We were in luck.

As we approached the usual viewing area on the Karearea Track we could hear a commotion from the adult Karearea, normally a sign that either one of the pair has caught something to eat or that nest duties are being swapped. Steve and Niels were there taking photos of the male Karearea who was perched on a branch in a nearby tree. Over the next hour or so we were treated to quite a show as the parents stayed nearby (occasionally swooping past to make sure we knew how close was too close), caught a small bird and fed the chick which was still visible from the track sitting in a hollow just in front of the large log where the initial nest was found. So I took photos and Keryn watched and occasionally pointed out where the falcons were to people who passed by on the track.

K?rearea (male)Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The male Karearea perches nearby.

K?rearea (female on the left)Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The female Karearea caught a small bird (maybe a chick from a nest) and left it on a branch for the male to find. Once he’d eaten a few scraps she grabbed it back and headed to her chick.

K?rearea (female)Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Taking the food to the chick.

K?rearea (female with chick)Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Feeding the chick while keeping an eye on the audience.

K?rearea (male chick)Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The chick left to its own devices.

K?rearea (female with chick)Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Keeping watch, the chick to the right.

K?rearea (female with chick)Photo by Brendon & Keryn

It began to rain and the female headed back to the chick to provide cover.

K?rearea (male)Photo by Brendon & Keryn

And the male Karearea watches.

It was getting colder with the rain and Keryn, still getting over a cold, was needing to get somewhere warmer so we headed off. Heading back along the aptly named Karearea Track we found the adults waiting for us. One of them had caught another bird and feeding was taking place in the branches of a large pine tree rising above the track. Both Karearea were there and feathers were flying from the kill. Approaching Tui Terrace we heard the falcons again, and saw one (the male I think) flying into the stand of pines above the terrace. It seems that they’re very active now that the chick is growing larger and more reckless. Karearea fledge at around 35 days so I think the next three weeks will be very interesting for those visiting Zealandia and checking on the growing chick.

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