Up and out the door pretty early, with a lovely sunny but crisp morning. The weather yesterday had deposited some new snow, but the peaks were now clear and visible, so beautiful views of Aoraki – Mount Cook as we drove past. A couple of quick photo stops and then on through to Fairlie. A quick bathroom break and then a stop at the Fairlie Bakehouse, home of the most amazing pie in the World – the Salmon and Bacon pie! Delicious. The shop was almost bought out of pies as we headed off towards Christchurch.
We drove on towards Lake Ellesmere, our planned stop for the morning. There had been recent sightings of little stint and a range of other vagrant shorebirds there, so what better way to finish the trip than with a new shorebird? There was not a lot of wind and conditions were nice, so we checked out a couple of locations. We found good numbers of black swan, pied stilt and more skylarks than you could shake a stick at! There were a few shorebirds, and the first we looked at was a Hudsonian godwit! Wow, that was a good start. We kept scanning and found a few bar-tailed godwit, wrybill, banded dotterel, but nothing smaller. Then a small tern was found amongst a group of roosting bar-tailed godwit, a common tern – a strange place for this bird, but we’ll take that as well.
Time was ticking, but no small peeps could be found, so we headed for the city to start our good-byes. We dropped everyone at various locations around the city and said our good-byes. It had been a great three weeks together, we had seen almost all of the endemics we hoped for (and perhaps a few more), and on the whole had encountered pretty amazing weather.
Day total – Seen = 38; new for the trip = 2; total for the trip to date = 162