Home > life in pictures, visiting > better late than never 5: NZ wildlife

better late than never 5: NZ wildlife

At the end of the last post, I showed a sign that warned “Don’t feed the kea”. “What’s a kea and why shouldn’t I feed it?”, you may well ask. We found out while driving through the mountains where they live — kea are large parrots, very curious about people and very interested in nibbling any loose food, or lacking that, anything small you’re not hanging on to, or even your car’s rubber window seals!

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We found this kea sitting on a car parked at a viewpoint on the side of the road. (The car’s owners were on a hike, we found out.) We didn’t feed the kea, but we did take plenty of pictures. Elisha decided to show the better part of valor and take pictures from inside the car, while Mark had a much more up close and personal experience with it :-).

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“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille”

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We did some hiking along trails up in the mountains. By a lake we saw a bird that looked very much like the diving cormorants we have in Oregon, sunning itself to dry its wings just like our cormorants.

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At a bird sanctuary we saw a kaka (a brightly colored relation of the kea), a shy owl hiding in shadows, and the very rare takahe.

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Not all the wildlife in New Zealand were birds. At Milford Sound we saw seals posing and napping on the rocks …

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… and then we had a big surprise — the tour boat captain told us that dolphins had noticed the boat, and they swam over to meet us and play around surfing in the boat’s bow wave! We could lean over the front railing, and it felt like I could almost touch them, they were so close. It was the high point of the whole trip for me, and that’s saying something.

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OK, so these guys aren’t “wildlife” but they are cute :-).

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