With bags packed for the last time we headed off towards Christchurch. But it wasn’t over yet! We had a mission to complete, to really nail home that defeat, and get one more bird for the list. Sure it is not all about the numbers, but hey, we had done so well, why not strive a little further, going a few minutes out of our way for a….a…..mute swan!
On the way we stopped and grabbed some lunch and some grabbed got their hands on what is possibly New Zealand’s best pie…a big call, but heck who would have thought a Salmon and Bacon pie would work so well together! The Fairlie Bakehouse really know their stuff and it was described as some in the back of the bus as ‘Orgasmic!”. I’ll leave it there it think!
As we got closer to the coast we entered the Canterbury Plains, the low flat arable land that surrounds Christchurch and the other coastal cities. Crossing several large braided rivers we could easily see the extent of the weed problem with most of these rivers choked with introduced lupins and other weeds. The Ashburton River however did have a large black-billed gull breeding colony which was great to see, and hopefully they are successful in rearing their chicks to fledging this season. We then turned further to the coast as we neared Christchurch, and there in front of us, in all their splendour, were about 20 mute swans!
We then headed in to Christchurch city, seeing the extent of the repairs still being undertaken in the city from the earthquake in 2011. We dropped Laurence off at his Hotel in down town, and bid him farewell, then headed out to the Airport for everyone else. After 21-days on the road we said our good-byes to new friends, hard to believe it was all over.
Day total – Seen = 31; new for the trip = 1; total for the trip to date = 172 (inc heard great-spotted kiwi – this is a new record).