Well it was another early morning, and we were loaded and on the road by 0700. We decided it was worth giving Baillon’s crake a second hit, and also looking for Chukar. So we headed out past Lake Pukaki just as the sun was rising and hitting Mount Cook (Aoraki) which was completely cloud free and looked absolutely stunning! This was the third day we had looked for and seen Mount Cook (Aoraki) - we had seen it from the west coast, and two days running from across Lake Pukaki - I don't think that has happened on a tour before! We headed on to a spot, that for all the world looked like there should be Baillon’s crakes stumbling out of every corner…but nothing. We gave it a good go, nearly 45 minutes of searching, but not a sausage…or a crake!
So we headed back off towards Christchurch, cruising slowly looking for Chukar. We didn’t spot any but heard some a wee way off, but decided time was against us and so we carried on.
Just before Burke’s Pass we had a flash by falcon, but turning around couldn’t find it again. Still, our 8th falcon of the trip can’t be bad!
We made it into Christchurch around midday, checked into accommodation and said our goodbyes. Everyone was a little weary after such an action packed trip, so I imagine the afternoon was a little lazy for most. Hard to believe our 21-day trip was over.
Day total – Seen = 35 + 1 heard (grey warbler); new for the trip = 1; total for the trip to date = 161 (inc heard great-spotted kiwi and chukar).
|Mount Cook (Aoraki) looking stunning in the morning light
|Panorama across Lake Pukaki with Mount Cook (Aoraki) in the distance