After coming back from Tiritiri, I’m staying at the hostel all day, sending email and trying to sort out my close future.
I couldn’t help but notice how omnipresent rugby is, for there’s TV running in the living room, and it seems there’s always a documentary about the All Blacks on.
Today, a guest at the hostel told me I looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not sure how to feel about this…
Great day today, I hitch-hiked for the first time! I went to the Australasian gannet (Morus serrator) colony in Muriwai; it was gorgeous, and I captured the picture I was looking for.
The day didn’t start well, though: at the end of the bus line, I didn’t dare lift the thumb. Too many cars driving too fast, I was scared. So I walked along the road, to Kumeu. 8 kilometers. Not fun.
But in that town, I found a nice spot, and after barely five minutes, Charlie stopped in his black pick-up. We talked about traveling and photography, and in the end he even took me a mile further, to Muriwai itself, even though it was not on his path. Charlie, if you’re reading this: thank you!
I hitched two rides to come back to Auckland, fairly easily, comforting me in thinking that’s how I’d like to travel, at least for a while.
I traveled to Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Center, a place known to host thousands of Arctic waders during summer. I left Auckland by bus, then hitched a ride for the last stretch.
The landscape, in this region, though nice at first sight, is actually terrifying. Deforestation is obvious, with large tree stumps remaining here and there. In addition, where trees are gone remain only low grass, and cattle gathered in sometimes overcrowded enclosures. No cultivated fields, only pastures. I found it oddly depressing, like a testament to how we transform our environment – and not for the best.
Three nights that I’ve stayed at the Shorebird Center, and Ô how I wished there were some heating in this building! I’m tired of being cold indoors.
On the other hand, I’ve seen great birds outside, and great light at sunset and sunrise. I’m paying my accommodation here, in the middle of nowhere, with the pictures I took. I’m happy with what I produced, and so was Chelsea, who arranged my stay and welcomed me here. Such a great place!
I added many new species to my list! Among them, I’ll note the Black-billed gull (Chroicocephalus bulleri), the rarest gull on earth, which gave me stunning views in the 5 minutes of sunshine at dawn this morning.