I don’t do much wildlife, and I don’t shoot animals in captivity, and I don’t publish blurry pictures. Let’s break all those rules. Oh, and Terry Pratchett too.
Our first full day in New Zealand, Lauren’s brother took us to Muriwai, famous for cliffs and beaches and gannets.
Gannets aren’t terribly beautiful or inspiring, and their colony stinks powerfully. But still, a close look at their hangout is something you’re unlikely to forget. Here’s a group shot; note the fluffy youngster in the middle and the grouchy seagull up at the edge.
Here’s a close look at a parent and child.
OK, that’s enough gannets. Here are a pair of gulls, could have been captured anywhere in the world, but trust me, it was New Zealand.
And now for something completely different · Kiwis are kind of boring birds. Having evolved their flightless forest-floor nocturnal ways in times when New Zealand had no mammals, they are also pretty well doomed outside protected areas. So they’re kind of hard to see; most Kiwis (as in New Zealanders) I talked to had never seen any in the wild; read about it at Kiwis for Kiwi.
If you want to see them you go to a kiwi house, where they reverse day and night. So when you walk in, you’re blind for a few minutes till your eyes adjust. Here’s a shot inside the Whangarei Kiwi Sanctuary.
Yeah, blurry I know, but it captures a moment I enjoyed. I had to stand there a long time — some of the party got bored and left — before they bounced down into the same corner and interacted a bit. As one who’s spent time among barnyard fowl, I think that at least one of them had making little kiwi on his or her mind.
More what? · This is a bird, a little owl (also found in Australia) called a Morepork. (Actually there are one-and-a-third of them in the picture.)
The moment I saw the nameplate, of course I thought “Terry Pratchett”, and sure enough.
This, by the way, is in the Hamilton Zoo, in an unremarkable city in the middle of the North Island; but it’s a remarkably nice zoo, as good as I’ve seen anywhere.