Tuesday 4 December 2018

Day seventeen - wrens and kea

Surely it can’t be…I know what the forecast said, but surely we brought the sunshine from Stewart Island.  Nope rain on the roof during the night.  We woke to grey and drizzly skies, but don’t panic, it will be ok.
We quickly stopped at Miles Better Pies (nom nom nom) and then on the road super early, the pies were only just out of the oven!  We headed straight through to our first stop, a few rain showers on the way, and parked the van.  There was definitely some moisture in the air, but we donned our wet weather gear and headed out.  We had only just paused, when Jack said ‘Is that one there’ and there in the corner of some rocks was a male rock wren!!!  Right there in front of us, and we had only just got into place!  With warnings of “It could be several hours” this all seemed like a bit of an anti-climax!  We soaked in the views as it perched atop rocks and showed itself off, calling every now and then.  It gradually moved off up the hill and disappeared.  We waited and watched for another 45 minutes before it showed again, this time for a few minutes, and again then disappeared.  Fantastic! We had all had great looks and managed to get some lovely images.
Pretty soon the rain came in hard, so we decided to head back to the van and try for something a little different.  We drove a short way, and there it was – our prize.  If not THE, one of the smartest birds on our planet (smarter than some Presidents!) – the kea.  We jumped out of the van, guarding it against the attack of a bill capable of tearing out windscreen rubber in the blink of an eye!  It was fun to watch the antics of several of these birds, jumping around the place, investigating various vehicles, etc.  And it was even more fun to watch the owners/hirers of the vehicles grinning and laughing to start with, only to change into stern faces and scolds as the birds started to pry rubber from places it was never going to fit back into!  Gold!
We got some nice images and spent some time just watching and enjoying, before then continuing on our way.  We headed down into Milford Sound to take a look at this spectacle of nature, and enjoy a coffee and snack.  The weather had really improved and lulled us into a false sense of security, so we headed back up into the mountains.  We again stopped and made a walk to see if we could spot the rock wren again, after enjoying more antics of the kea.  But this time no sign of the wee green gems.
We carried on back towards Te Anau.  Stopping at a couple of spots along the way.  A beautiful walk through magical moss covered Nothofagus was gorgeous in the slight rain, but fairly quiet of birds.  We carried on back towards Te Anau and kept eyes peeled for the ever elusive falcon, before having a break at the Motel and then another lovely dinner in town!  Rain on the roof top as we crawled into bed…

A male rock wren looking cute amongst the moss and boulders

A kea circles above us in the spectacular alpine scenery

Kea and waterfall...is this my best side?

Stunning scenery of Fiordland in the rain

A moody landscape

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