The New Zealand diaries: sunset glory at Te Uwerera National Park (29/12/2015)

I love the end of the day-it’s as if, before going to sleep, birds and other animals as well as plants make an extra effort to unleash their intrinsic glory with the sun covering their efforts with extra-golden rays.Those of us who are lucky enough to be there during those special moments stand breathless, struck by how very perfect God’s creation is.


During my walk back from Lake Waikaretei I heard so many birds rustle about in the bushes or burst into song. Just outside the campsite and during my walk to see the sun set over Lake Waikaremoana, I then spotted and was serenaded by a variety of  endemic birds. It is never easy to be 100% sure whether what we have seen or heard matches a picture in a book, but I think I saw a Tui, which has an extremely odd song consisting of grunts, coughs and gurgles; a New Zealand pigeon which looked blue but is said to live in native forest; and a bellbird which,as the name suggest, has a song which sounds like bells ringing or a flute playing. I think this is the same bird as the one which sang to me as I walked to the toilet block at 5am, so I am glad to now Know what it was


The mystery of the funny bird darting into the road as I drove from Auckland to Mount Maunganui is also solved, by the way; the little creature is called a Myna, can only be seen on the North Island (it is an Afghan/Indian bird which was introduced to NZ in the 1870s but has since died out on the South Island). The reason it is seen by the road side is that it feasts on insects killed by cars, and it effectively has a yellow patch round the eye as an identifier, which was the only way I could be sure that it was not a starling.


Now the sun is setting over the lake and is bathing it in a mix of golden, silver-blue and pink light. With the disappearance of the sun, the mountain chills is creeping in and I am glad I have my fleece on. I will wait for the colour display to finish and then wander back to the campsite to have a drink with my camp neighbours, Annemarie and Mike, their kids and other friends of theirs who invited me round earlier. They are from Rotorua and it will be nice to have some company after two relatively solitary days. I feel so blessed in so many ways.