After a drizzly night it was a surprise to awake to a promising morning. Autumn was certainly in the air, but light fluffy clouds clung to the sides of the mountains, and sunshine poked through in places. More fresh snow was evident, but as we headed to the pie shop we knew it was going to be a great day! Miles Better Pies in Te Anau really is a great spot to grab some lunch, and with the axles of the Hyundai groaning under the weight of apple pies, we headed back up towards the Homer Tunnel.
It was a gorgeous morning, the cloud, the cool crisp air, and the hope that we may see some more new birds. A group of bulls were being moved along the road, and with Lily having successfully photographed almost every magnificent animal as we navigated through the ‘flock’ we continued on. Passing the spot we had seen the falcons yesterday we scanned the countryside, but no luck.
Heading on to Knob’s Flat we again stopped briefly and had bellbirds, rifleman, tomtit and grey warbler right there in the carpark. A very friendly male robin that was banded even took time out of his busy schedule to perch on my camera, and feeling that wasn’t enough even left his little calling card...guess at least he wasn’t an emu! Interesting to watch the bellbirds and tomtits feeding on the Coprosma fruits.
Further along we made another stop on the edge of some beautiful forest and had brown creeper, fantail, tomtit, and bellbird, and great views of yellow-crowned parakeet. It seemed that the forests were even more birdy than when I was last here in November. We then did the beautiful walk at Cascade Creek, which is like walking through some elfin dream with thick mosses on every tree and stump, lichens, ferns, etc. Again it was very birdy with rifleman and tomtits everywhere, and lots of yellow-crowned parakeets, and at one stage a bird feeding less than 2m away! The sunlight filtering through the canopy and warming us as we stood on the shore of Lake Gunn was a nice touch.
Carrying on we then checked almost every section of the Upper Hollyford River for blue duck...not a sausage...not even a duck sausage! We made a lot of stops and scanned a lot of the river, but the spots I have seen them before were empty, as were every other place we looked at...sometimes you just can’t win! Nevermind, it was a gorgeous day to be out and the scenery was magnificent with the fresh snow dusting the tops catching the sun.
We checked the Homer Tunnel carpark for any errant kea, but there were none (they must have been reformed), and then headed back down into town. A fairly uneventful trip, until passing our falcon spot, when Jean thought she spied something...it turned out not to be a falcon, but from that spot I found an adult male, possibly the same bird as yesterday, in the top of a beech tree. Again scope views of a fantastic little bird, making this the third day in a row we have seen NZ falcon...not too shabby!
We headed on into Te Anau, had a rest before dinner again at the Fat Duck Cafe...another feast!
|The dirty little robin...
|Looking up from the Eglinton
|Looking up from the Eglinton
|The beautiful Eglinton Valley
Bird of the day – Rifleman x1, tomtit x1, SI robin x1 (specifically the little guy that pooped on my camera!)
Day total – Seen = 24 + 2H(kaka, dunnock); new for the trip = 3; total for the trip to date = 53