Sunday 25 November 2018

Day eight - ducks and drizzle

Up and out the door, with grey skies and rain…boo!  But off we headed and within a few minutes we had one of the same pairs of blue duck as yesterday in view.  They were a little further, so we headed off to look for some others, in the hope that we might get some photo opportunities.
We checked a couple of other locations, the first was again duckless, but the second we found a single bird, perhaps different to those we had seen yesterday. It was feeding and moving around the place, so we took a few photos, and then headed off.  We decided that perhaps the weather was going to be a little better further south (according to the forecast at least), so we headed south early. It rained much of the first part of the drive, but we did manage glimpses of the base of the mountains there in the Central Plateau, and we did get a couple of pipit as well.  As we drove over one of the beautiful mountain streams, we spotted a duck shape.  Stopping, there on a beautiful fast flowing mountain river, was a blue duck standing in all its glory!  Nice one!
We carried on through to the south, arriving to the Manawatu Estuary just before midday.  It was spitting a few spots of rain but mostly pretty good.  The tide was a huge high tide, so we couldn’t access the birds, and changed tack as the rain started to fall.  We watched the birds from another location, managing to spot the curlew sandpiper in amongst the red knot.  Nice views of that, and we then headed on for some gull photography. Nice to have both red-billed and black-billed really close and side by side!  So with a few spots of rain the van made a perfect mobile hide to take photos from!
WE then moved to a few different locations, finding a very nice pair of Australasian shoveler with youngsters, then some scaup with tiny little ducklings that showed off their diving skills.  And then the rain really decided to come down!  So we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and headed to the Motel a little early.  We checked in and got some well earnt rest, did some image downloading, etc.
Despite the easy afternoon in parts, the tummies were still rumbling, and so we headed out for a great dinner at a small local restaurant, adding Royal spoonbill to the day list on the way!  Another excellent day!

A dunnock with a beakful of food for its nearby fledglings

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