If you’re missing more wildlife in our posts, you might enjoy this page – listing many animals that we’re seeing in this trip. I’ll start with just a few, and add more to the page when I have more time (I’m very busy on my vacation).
Some are quite disgusting/ugly/disturbing, so.. I’ll list the cutest first! Stop scrolling when you had enough.
If you know the right name for animals for which I do not know, please leave a comment to let me know.
We were fortunate enough to stand at the living room of a family of Yellow Eyed Penguins when they had their dinner conversation. Really. See below.
Hello, I’m Schmendrik
I’m 6 weeks old. I am a grownup. I look bigger than my parents
But I don’t swim. And I didn’t eat all day. Can’t wait for mom and dad to return from fishing already with some food for me
Mom is back. But she won’t let me eat! Mom wants me to come and practice swimming
No! But now she’s yelling at me
I don’t want to swim! My feathers aren’t waterproof yet! It’s so cooooold.
It’s been a bit of arguing going on, and penguins are quite slow. Now the sun is setting and the photos look pink.
Dad is back! Now they’re both trying to make me swim. Can’t N go with them swimming instead? She looks really well dressed.
No! Don’t want your food, I’m going back to the nest. Hey A, want to come with me?
It looks like mom and dad are fighting now
Actually they’re singing
and preening. It’s been a long day in the sea. Dad raced a seal
Not going to swim.. cold.. hungry!
Oof. Now when will they get me my food already?!
Keas are alpine parrots, and are brilliantly smart, playful, curious, social birds – and extremely funny. Their curiously would bring them to try and play with any loose equipment, furniture, or food they can lay their beaks on. Usually the risk for travelers is that a flock of young and curious Keas would descend on the camp (around 5am…), take your shoes, open bags left outside, break their way into whatever they can and fly away with anything light enough.
In addition to being so amusing to watch, they’re also beautifully green with red-orange under their wings. Their numbers are decreasing, which is very sad and means that in this visit (as opposed to 13 years ago) I did not encounter them as often as I’d love to.
This Kea near Arthur’s Pass came to see if we had anything of interest, and I handed it my empty coffee cup. Very quickly she removed the lid and proceeded to check what can be made of the cup.
Within a minute she determined that there wasn’t much between the layers of the cup, made a few holes to verify the findings, and moved on. The cafe had heavy weights screwed to their trash bin covers – they know what could happen otherwise..
In another area we saw Keas in their more natural habitat, up in the trees.
We saw them many times along the beach before we learned their name. Wearing my favorite colors of black and orange (sometimes a spot of white too) with a long beak, you can’t miss them on the beach.
This one is trying to hide among the others. He’s just as white.
Digging for food. Oysters, I would presume.
Teaching a young oystercatcher how to find food.
The young oystercatcher was patiently waiting for food to be found, then approached to eat it.
Seagulls are admirably good flyers, managing turbulent currents above stormy seas. They are also everywhere in New Zealand (and yes, they are also everywhere else in the world).
Mom, what’s in your mouth?
Any food for me? Can I eat it NOW?
This smart seagull repeatedly threw this oyster from a height onto the beach, trying to break it so it can eat it. We found lots of broken, eaten, oysters on the beach before realizing who breaks them.
Master Seagull admires young yogi’s tree position
A bit clumsy on the ground. Their wings are so long they have to fold them twice – note the two joints visible on the left wing.
Impressive when they take off. They barely flap their wings, instead they just maneuver in the strong winds.
Once they leave the nesting area, they circle the earth and don’t really need land for anything except for nesting again.
With huge wing span of three meters, when they chased the ferries and boats we took, they were much faster, all while barely flapping their wings.
Cicadas crawl out of the soil every so and so years, make lots of noise while they live above ground, then die. During our first hike in New Zealand it was apparently that annual festival of the cicadas, to the point where this is all we’ve heard during the hike. Millions of them were everywhere and on every tree, and molted skins were on every branch, tent, and backpack.
This is a live, kicking (its wings) and screaming, cicada. It seems all they do all day is make noise.
A molted skin left on a tree branch