McElroy Scenic Reserve
Size: 151 hectares
McElroy Scenic Reserve is situated on the shores of Dyers Creek, on the edge of the Mahurangi Harbour. Administered by Auckland Council, the reserve extends inland from the estuarine creek.
It rises steeply up hillslopes to flatter ridges and spurs. The hillslopes are covered entirely with kauri, podocarp, broadleaved forest (WF11).
The forest is botanically interesting. Kauri and tanekaha are common on the ridges and spurs. There are occasional toatoa and hard beech. Many of the native orchids present and other plants species here grow in association with kauri trees or kauri-dominated forest.
The forest understorey is less diverse due to impacts from goat and cattle browse. Boundary fences have been recently repaired.
There are large taraire and pūriri in the gully along with a rich diversity of other plant species.
The forest grades into a large mangrove swamp at the bottom of the hillslopes. The biodiversity focus area includes mangrove forest and scrub. It also encompasses coastal forest which extends around the headland north of the scenic reserve.
The kauri and coastal forest and the estuarine environment support a good diversity of native animals. This includes nationally At Risk wetland bird species including:
- mioweka (banded rail)
- mātātā (fernbird).
History of the area
Within the reserve, there is a well-formed pa, several middens and kumara pits, confirming former Māori occupation.
Logging grooves seen from some ridges are a reminder of the historic logging of this area.
There is a public walking track through the reserve. However, this track is currently closed to prevent the spread of kauri dieback.
Coastal saline ecosystem
Mangrove forest and scrub ecosystem (SA1)
Mangrove forest and scrub is found in tidal estuaries, inlets and where salt water meets fresh at the mouths of rivers and streams. This ecosystem has a range of distinct plant communities that provide habitat for birds and fish.
Warm forest ecosystem
Kauri, podocarp, broadleaved forest ecosystem (WF11)
Once widespread across the Auckland region, this warm forest ecosystem contains a range of podocarp and broadleaf trees on different landforms. It is an ideal habitat for birds, bats and lizards thanks to an abundance of fruit and nectar.