As there are no native mammals in New Zealand, we have to turn our interest to spotting the rare and sometimes endangered birds. It takes some time to spot animals (apart from sheep and cows), but with good eyes and some luck –depending on the season and where food sources are – birds like Tui, Wood Pigeon, Fantail, Pukeko, Waxeye, Quail, Dotterels, Kingfisher, Cormorant and Oystercatcher can be seen. It certainly takes more luck to see the Kiwi, Rosella parakeet, Kaka parrot, Gannet, Teal, Penguin and Albatross.
Even the Whangarei Harbour is visited by marine life like Orcas, Stingrays, Dolphins, Sunfish, Sea Horses and Seals. While diving at the Poor Knights Marine Reserve will get you closer to great schools of fish, sharks, John Dory, nudibranchs and many rare endemic species. In the rivers you can often find shrimps, eels and trout.
Quite fascinating are tiny creatures like Stick Insects, Weta, Praying Mantis, Flat Worms, Giant Puriri Moths, Huhu Bugs, Leafvein Slugs, in summer the ever-present Cicadas, the rare Kauri and Flax Snails.
Again, without the relative success of conservation projects especially the ‘pest’ animals would thrive and continue to push natives out of their habitat: Stoats, Possums, Rats, Hedgehogs, Deer and Wild Pigs are a threat to many other plant and bird species. For example Tuatara Lizards (New Zealand’s ‘living fossils’) now only survive on the protected offshore islands where these pests have been eradicated.