Monday 25 November 2019

Day fourteen - ROWI

Up with a leisurely breakfast, after a slightly later night.  And a beautiful sunny day greeted us.  We headed back up to Arthur’s Pass and had a look around, but no kea on show.  We stopped and enjoyed some beautiful scenery and the lovely sunshine, and then headed on over and down to the West Coast.  We were on the scan, looking out for falcon, every snag and tree scanned and every inch of the sky…
We made a couple of quick stops along the way.  Checking out a sewage ponds which didn’t have too much out of the ordinary. A few black swan, some Pacific black duck look-alikes, mallards and NZ scaup.  Then into a town where we grabbed some bits and pieces for the coming days, then scored some lunch.  We drove a short way and enjoyed an early lunch in the sunshine, watching five great egrets in breeding plumage.  Very nice!
We did a short walk in the forest, getting brown creeper, tomtit, some lovely greenhood orchids, and finished off with a rambunctious weka.  All very good.
Onwards down the West Coast, enjoy spectacular rimu forest and beautiful views, and then in to Okarito to meet with Ian Cooper from Okarito Kiwi Tours.  On the way Derek showed his extraordinary talent of sleeping and chewing nuts at the same time, and all whilst looking for falcon from the front passenger seat!!  We checked in with Ian and caught up on the plan for the evening, always great to establish a plan, and working with Ian is always a great honour.  He really does know his craft and the kiwi that we hope to see this evening!
A short walk in some of this beautiful coastal rimu forest had excellent views of South Island robin, more tomtit, and spectacular views out over the coast.  The weather was absolutely stunning and looked perfect for the evening…
On to our accommodation for the evening, checked in, a quick respite and then out for a lovely dinner.  We then headed out, got brief views of fernbird, and met with Ian.  We went through our training regime, got to grips with how we were going to operate, and then got into position.  The bird we were focused on was already up and moving by the time we were in position, well before dark.  So we slowly moved to keep abreast of him, and could every now and then hear him moving in the undergrowth.  A pretty exciting situation, knowing there is a bird right there.  Shortly after that the first morepork started to call, and then as it got a bit more dark, one flew and landed right above us and called, still visible in the fading light.  But our focus was on the kiwi just inside the forest.  It sounded like there was also another bird there nearby, but we tracked our target, and after about one hour in total, Ian had us right in position as BZ walked out right in front of us, paused, posed for us perfectly, and then trod off into the forest again!  Amazing, Ian had positioned us perfectly and all of us had awesome views of a very very special bird!  Job done, we headed back to the van, said a massive thanks to Ian and headed to our beds…I bet everyone dreamt of kiwi!

Day total – Seen = 46 inc 2 heard, (kea, dunnock); new for the trip = 2; total for the trip to date = 149
The West Coast is spectacular

Havin fun in the sun!

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