Musings from Middle Earth (2)

Kiwis and Other Strange Birds

Strange birds abound in New Zealand. Everyone’s heard of the kiwi, but they’re reputed to be very shy and we haven’t seen one yet. But have you heard of the Weka or the Pukeko? 

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At Pelorus Bridge (where the barrel scene from the second Hobbit movie was filmed), we saw a large brown flightless bird walking on the grass. A little boy said, “Look, a kiwi!” and his dad said, “No, it’s a weka.” Or as he pronounced it in his kiwi-speak, it sounded like “wicca”.

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So I knew the name of the bird that was at the camper van door this morning looking for all the world like he was going to jump in. Now, I have a ridiculous fear of birds, and so, even though this bird had only one foot and one eye, I started waving a towel and shouting at it to go way, which made it all the more curious. I was locked in the van until it got bored and wandered off.

Other birds? Well, we’ve heard the beautiful song of the bell bird in the morning. We’ve seen ducks with white heads and ducks bigger than ours. We’ve seen seagulls smaller than ours that squeak instead of squawk, and other birds we can’t identify.  I’ll finish with something borrowed from my sister Margo—a moment of mosaic. 

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a pukeka in the funky campsite in Picton

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