Sunday, April 7, 2013

Driving to the west coast over Haast Pass

Driving from Wanaka to Fox Glacier.

Barry is climbing a boulder next to our B&B. Time to go.

We start counting the roadkill possums and get to 26. This one is pretty flat. Ever since these animals were brought here from Australia they have been the scourge of native birds, but that was just a“tree hugger” problem. Recently they have been found to be carriers of TB and a problem to farm animals. So suddenly eradication is on the radar.

We stop at a walk to the Blue Pools. Glacial water clear and blue so you can see fish in the water. I am getting slightly used to the swing bridges. Where the paths are board walks they prevent them from being slippery by putting chicken wire on top of the boards. A great inexpensive idea.

Moss on the trees

Red berries. At home I know edible berries, but not here.

The path to Fantail falls is under renovation, so we stop at the ninety foot high Thunder Creek falls. Very nice. William is rejuvenated.

The pools here are also blue.
The Tomtit we see flutters about to quick for a picture. Thanks to wiki for this.

I have been thinking about the kiwi and the moa. When the kiwi hatches it requires no care from its parents. It is a bit smaller than an adult, but all the necessary behaviors are hard wired. It is born knowing how and where to forage and how to build a burrow. Not really any room there for learning new behaviors. Not good if something in the environment changes. I think the moa must have been much like this. In the hundreds of years the Maori hunted the moa, the moa never learned to be afraid of people. There is a lot of impenetrable forest still here in New Zealand. If the moa had been able to learn new behaviors, it could have survived.

We stop at Knights Point to view the ocean. To the west is the Tasman Sea between here and Tasmania. To the southwest is the Southern Ocean between here and Antarctica. On the sand at the tip of the point is a bunch of fur seals, confirmed with William's spotting scope.
I catch one of the ubiquitous safety signs. You see these every once in a while with messages like Drink Drive Die!

The vegetation is thick and lush and in this way reminds us of Oregon or Washington rain forest coast. But not when you look closer. The plants and trees are different. They look more like the background in pictures of dinosaurs. I think about a certain botanist who would love to visit here. Lena!

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