I had an excited phonecall from my father today. He was sitting in his garden on the edge of the Hauraki Plains, south of Auckland, when he spotted a bellbird. Heard it first in fact, just one note. He then followed the bird around the garden for a while before losing it. Mangatarata is a typical rural area with pockets of bush trapped as islands among acres of farmland. I grew up there and there weren’t any exceptional birds to speak of. Recently, though, a flock of cockatoos (eight, I think) were seen there and kaka visit every so often. So perhaps the times they are a changin’.
The bellbird picture by Craig McKenzie comes from the NZ Birds Online site where you can see more photos and hear what the bird sounds like as well. Worth a visit.