Saturday 23 March 2013

Island zoo

Today was all about the creatures. I flew just 20 minutes from Invercargill to Stewart Island and thought, for a change, I'd go for a walk. To Horseshoe Bay, which on the postcards looked like it'd give Tasmania's Wineglass Bay a run for its money: white sand, perfect curve between bushy headlands, turquoise water. It's just 3-4 hours.

First there was a white heron feeding in the reeds, to the great excitement of a couple of birders with fat lenses. Then, after first lunch at the offputtingly-named Dead Man Beach (glorious little bay, utterly deserted and mine, all mine) there was a white-tailed deer grazing by the road.

Back at the motel, there was a flock of greedy kaka, native parrots, jostling on the verandah railing to take peanuts delicately from my fingers with their sharp and cruelly curved beaks. And finally, after a feed of big, fat Bluff oysters, there were three brown kiwi on the beach in the dark, probing their long beaks deep into the sand after sand-hoppers, quite undisturbed by our torchlight. My first wild kiwi! Brilliant.

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