So I once again wake up early enough to see the star show. After first light, I packed up my things and headed up to the Texas Café for breakfast. I get word there that the boat is cancelled again today. I’ve seen enough of the island. Really, how much beauty can one person take?! I called the little airline to beg for a seat on the early evening flight to Auckland. They have space. Now we’ll just see if the planes will fly. So meanwhile, more driving around, more birdwatching and more sitting in the park typing. And hopefully in a few minutes, more mussel chowder!
Driving around the island has been like slalom skiing.
Instead of skis and snow, you have tires and gravel. Throw in a hidden hairpin curve every once in a while, and you have a picture of it! Of course you have to add opposite direction traffic. Just as you are lulled into the thought that there is absolutely no one on the roads but you, wham! He’s one half in your lane (since the middle half of the road swings both ways!) slamming his brakes on too. Hopefully, you reflexively jerk the correct direction and hope that the other driver isn’t an American who pulls to the right! One of you has to move over and if there isn’t room ahead, a little backing up does the trick. Add to that the unexpected obstacles of jumping rabbits and the occasional cow. And hope you are paying attention to the road and not the captivating scenery that is around every curve!
I met Sally again at the gas station.
Turns out she’s going to take the 5 o’clock flight off the island too. Chatting again with her, I mentioned that my maiden name was Brown. Her face had the same stunned look on it that she had when I told her my name was Sally. Turns out she also grew up as Sally Brown. Strange coincidences in this world! Had the mussel chowder and posted my first few days on the travel blog site.
The seabirds were tough. I narrowed things down to a couple tentative Sooty Shearwaters but changed those to Black Petrels after a chat with a DoC naturalist later and a look at a picture I took, a whole lot of Fluttering Shearwaters, a couple Common Diving-petrals along with Australasian Gannets, White-fronted terns, Black-backed Gulls, Black-billed gulls, Red-billed gulls and Caspian Terns. Once on the island, I found lots of Silvereyes, Fantails, a few Kakas, Pukekos, White faced herons, Brown teal, mallards, and other species for a total of 45 with 34 life birds for me. Shorebirds included NZ dotterel, Banded dotterel, Pied Stilt, Pied and Variable Oystercatchers, Reef heron, but alas no wrybills yet. Many of the birds are endemic to NZ and can be found nowhere else. Won’t be able to bird on the ferry home. It is the freight run and makes stops on the island so it doesn’t leave until after dark and gets in late, late, late to Auckland. (Edited to say: won’t be taking the ferry home!) Hard to bird from an airplane but it is an itty bitty one so who knows.