Day 13 - Wednesday
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I was up and out of there before sunrise. I went west to go north on the Kaipara South Head. I stopped at a place called Shelly Beach. This is the place I should have stayed! If I had known it was only 20 minutes farther and also that I wouldn’t need the heater at night, I would have been there! It was a nice place and I spent a couple hours there just cooking up some lambchops for breakfast, walking the beach and rearranging my living quarters. I didn’t have far to go today so it was a nice break. I would certainly have preferred to watch the sun rise there than at the place I stayed the night!
I did see my first deer farms. I knew they were farmed here but hadn’t seen any farther north. I have seen huge numbers of sheep and cattle, some deer, goats, llamas, alpacas, horses and pigs! Farming/ranching is still huge here.
On I went and took a couple detours off the main route, as usual. I drove west to some small dune lakes that included Lake Kereta. It was a pretty area, with some ducks and black swans on the lake. I came across a group of horseback riders preparing for a group ride or something. Probably a dozen horses, horse trailers and people were gathered on the side of the road. I passed more coming in as I left the area. I drove all the way north to South Head (you’d have to look at a map!) but it was a disappointment. I headed across a military reserve to a lagoon that had a few shorebirds but nothing new. I went east to the other coast where I had picked out a campground to stay at for the next 2 nights.
I walked into Orewa town center for dinner. Ate at a place called The Ship and The Anchor. OMG it was so good. I had the roast lamb with port wine sauce and mashed kumara (sweet potato) and roasted vegetables. Excellent. The new owner came over for a chat. He’s only had the restaurant for 6 weeks so it’s new to him. Hard to decide on food here. Walking down the main street, there were Indian and Thai places that smelled so good. I had to pick up some Subway (yes, Subway) subs to take tomorrow for lunch.
Walked back to camp along the deserted beach in the dark, after asking if it was safe to do. I’m a little paranoid here. Eighteen years ago when I was in NZ, my car was broken into and some stuff stolen. Of the many places I’ve been to that have crime warnings, NZ was considered a really safe place to travel. And yet that is the only place I had trouble. But anyway, I’ve seen no trouble this time although my stuff is under lock and key. One place I stopped had a vehicle security guard. I chatted with him for a bit. They’ve been doing security in the parking lot for 14 years now and never any trouble. Once they started monitoring, no one even tried. Must be a darn boring job though!
I stole a little ice from the freezer in the kitchen and had a bit of Frangelica on ice.
I am now up to 69 birds for the trip, 55 of them life birds for me! That’s really very good on the new ones. I haven’t gotten that many on a trip for a long time. It is amazing how many birds are introduced here. I have seen thousands of house sparrows and mynas and hundreds of turkeys in the fields. I even saw a couple flocks of peacocks. There have been at least 20 ring-necked pheasants, lots of beautiful males. I’ve seen the absolutely gorgeous Eastern Rosella a few times. That bird is so colorful!
But even some of the native birds are plentiful. Harriers are everywhere, as are kingfishers. By everywhere, I mean here in Northland where I’ve been not all of NZ. I have not found as many shorebirds as I thought I would. Maybe wrong time, maybe wrong place. Who knows. But lots of oystercatchers!