This weekend, the weather was wet and wild, with thunderstorms and driving rain coming out of nowhere. Despite this, we risked going outside to visit some new parks in Auckland. We had an appointment for brunch downtown, so we checked out a nearby suburb: Point Chevalier. Point Chev, as it’s known, is north of the zoo and bordered on two sides by the harbour. More important to us, it has two parks where a variety of birds have been seen.
The first park we visited was Eric Armishaw Reserve. On Google Maps it looked tiny, but as we pulled up the small parking lot was nearly full, with many people in wetsuits milling around. It turned out that the reserve offers easy access to the water for kite surfers, who were taking full advantage of the windy weather. We were more interested in the seagulls and oystercatchers that were happily poking around in the receding tide. The reserve also includes a marsh but the boardwalk through it was under construction. We wandered up and down the shoreline, watching seagulls harassing a group of swimming cormorants and a pair of Caspian terns swooping around in the wind.
The second park we visited, the Meola Reef Reserve, was also crowded, this time with dog owners taking their pets to the off-lease area in the park. We walked down the long peninsula (an old volcanic lava flow), looking for birds in the mangrove swamps on either side. On the mudflats we spotted a surprisingly large flock of herons, which are usually solitary birds, and of course saw more seagulls, but most of the field birds were probably scared away by the dogs. We enjoyed the sun and the views of the city before heading off to brunch.
Brunch was at The Botanist, a nice cafe/florist with good coffee and better food. We were sitting outside but had to move quickly under cover when it started raining. Of course, ten minutes later the sun was back out. Auckland: four seasons in one day!