On the South Island coast I’m on the alert for local fauna. My first sighting is a sea lion flinging an octopus about in Blueskin Bay. That dark shape in the water is the sea lion’s head, octopus dangling from mouth. (If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can make it out.)
Next morning I see the sea lion again. This time breakfast is flounder (so I’m told).
…down the hatch it goes…
On the Otago coastline between Oamaru and Dunedin is an outcrop of rocks called Shag Point. There, all year round, you can see a colony of New Zealand fur seals. On this day it is pouring with rain and blowing a gale. I can’t step out of the car without getting soaked so I take these photos from my car window.
At the turn off to Shag Point is a cottage. Wow! What an outlook. Location Location!!
The next day we return to Shag Point as the rain has stopped. I take a five minute walk from the car park and look down over the cliff. Can you make out the seals on the rocks? (It can be hard to tell a seal from a rock.)
This must be the nursery.
…and this is surely Father. “Wake Up Father“.
After a few days in Otago we find ourselves back in Canterbury. We stay in this heavenly homestead near Little River (not far from Christchurch). The house was built in 1900. We feel we are in a Katherine Mansfield short story.
I am always drawn back to Birdlings Flat, a beach entirely made up of stones. A group of South Island pied oystercatchers make their way along the beach.
A black-backed gull ruffles his feathers.
Red-billed gulls rest and think about what to do next. (My aim is to photograph without disturbing the birds, which I succeed in doing.)
The surf continuously pounds this southern-facing coastline. I lie in the stones and watch the white-fronted terns as they preen themselves…
…call to one another…
…and fly out.
In the lagoon behind the beach a solitary white heron sounds an alarm. Is it me he is worried about? There is quite a body of water between us.
But still he flies away. (Perhaps he always meant to fly away and it is nothing to do with me. I hope so.)
Driving over the hills of Banks Peninsula we encounter a flock of sheep. The farmer looks like Jed Clampett.
The view from the top of the hill is outstanding. That must be Akaroa on the far side.
I suggest to Matthew he might like to check out some Barry’s Bay cheese. While he is sampling the famous cheeses I hop across the road to photograph the birds.
A paradise shelduck forages during low tide.
On a small island in the bay birds not of a feather stick together.
A pukeko takes me and my camera in her stride.
…and the next day we fly back to Australia.