During our layover in Vancouver, Sue and I met up with our friends Dave and Pat. We stopped for lunch and went for a walk….not much was happening birding wise. Only thing of interest we found, was this lovely Long-billed Dowitcher.
And had some great blackberries on the walk, they were everywhere along the path.
It’s amazing how much shorter Dave is, than I remember.
The only insect we saw was this Fiery Skipper.
Soon it was time to head back to the airport for our 13 hour flight to New Zealand.
Great flight, food was very good, drinks were free, lots on the entertainment screens and the seat were very spacious. A very enjoyable time. I’d fly Air New Zealand anytime.
As if 13 hours wasn’t enough, we waited for our next flight to Queenstown. Was a good call by my daughter Zoe, instead of driving to the South Island and back. We would drive from south to north. We never would have had enough time to drive both direction. Driving is on the left and while the roads are good. Averaging 80km per hour is tough.
We arrived in Queenstown, and as we walked to the rental car, came across this sign. Pretty cool.
After 15 hours in planes, we headed straight to our hotel just outside of Queenstown, I got a taste of driving on left again. Then we headed out to Moke Lake to get some fresh air.
My first New Zealand was a Pacific Black Duck (Grey Duck to the Kiwi’s).
There were many Pied Oystercatchers in the fields.
I also saw this import, a Chaffinch, on a post.
Even the sheep were happy with the weather, remember this is supposed to be their winter….
It was getting dark and we were bagged, so back to the hotel for a dinner and a few drinks then off to bed. Lovely sunset that evening.
Great view of Queenstown from our hotel the next morning.
We headed towards the West Coast, stopping briefly at Wanaka, on Lake Wanaka. Pick up a few birds and again breathtaking scenery.
New Zealand Pipit
When we arrived at Wanaka, their were many birds….
Small Pied Cormorant
New Zealand Scaup
Little Pied Cormorant
We moved on up the West Coast, heading in the direction of the Fox and the Franz Josef Glacier.
A lovely Red Deer Stag
We finally arrived at the Glaciers…
After a 30 minute walk we arrived at the glacier.
On the way out I found a few birds in the shrubbery..
Not sure about this one
We went moved on to the Bella Vista Motel, in Franz Josef, heading out to the Franz Josef Glacier, the next morning. Another climb, to get the best view.
Before heading out to the Glacier, I took a short walk through the town….came around the corner and found my only Moa of the trip.
On to the Glacier
HDR of the glacier.
We stopped along the coast and were enjoying the scenery but the sand flies had other ideas…the only time we encountered biting bugs on the whole trip.
A lovely water fall…
We headed for Arthurs Pass, where I’d been told you could see wild Kea’s. Not that I couldn’t see one anywhere but these birds were used to having people nearby.
Zoe making a new friend…
These birds love rubber, and any unattended vehicle is fair game, if you go there keep an eye on your car.
After a coffee break we headed towards the east coast, with great scenery and the occasional bird.
Plenty of sheep on South Island
Black Swan (European Import)
1st year Kelp Gull
We arrived in Kaikoura that afternoon and I went by the Albatross Encounters office and arranged a pelagic for the next morning.
Ciao for now