Tuesday 18 February 2020

Day fifteen - up and over

Still a little soggy this morning, but with images of Okarito kiwi still fresh in our minds all was right in the World!  We headed to a nearby site where we did a short walk through beautiful forest.  Mosses and ferns were in abundance, as were tomtits and a few NZ pigeons.  We got to a view point that still has a spectacular vista, but the view of the glacier is now a little underwhelming, with hardly a hint of the glacier visible in the misty cloud.  Even if it had been clear, the glacier has receded at a frightening pace and is almost not visible from the location any more.
We wandered back down, and headed south.  Beautiful forest and views, a little light drizzle, and still on the lookout for falcon.  There were a lot of ‘stick-birds’ and even more New Zealand pigeon sitting up in the tops of trees.  But no falcon.  We made a few scenic stops and then a stop to stretch the legs and spend a little time scanning.  Wonderful forest to explore a little as well.
We then carried on south, along the coast, making a few quick scenic stops.  And then a coffee stop, before we stopped for lunch in a beautiful location in land.  We had more great tomtit, grey warbler, and a few flying pigeons, and a delicious lunch.  And then a short drive to our main stop of the day, a beautiful patch of very mossy beech forest.  The forest was actually quite alive with birds, and before long we had tomtit, great rifleman, and then heard in the distance yellowhead.  We made our way down the trail closer to them and all got views of them feeding in the canopy.  There was a small family group with at least a few adults and some begging juveniles from this season.  So great to see it had been a productive season for them.  There were also about 10+ yellow-crowned parakeets with them, and these showed really well, plus the odd brown creeper, which did not show as well.  We had a good number of fantails, grey warbler, and more rifleman, so it was a really busy forest.  The shutters were definitely clicking and to be honest the birds didn’t stand a chance!  More nice close rifleman and everyone was happy.
We carried on inland, through more spectacular scenery, watching it change dramatically from temperate rainforest to dry open grassland almost before our eyes.  Beautiful lakes and stunning scenery as we came in to Wanaka, our home for the night.  We checked in to the accommodation, and then went for a great dinner down near the lake.  Another great day!
Day total – Seen = 36; new for the trip = 2; total for the trip to date = 142
Bird of the day – Yellowhead x 8
In the mist

The birds didn't stand a chance!


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