We ended up going on four birding trips this week. It has been a tough week for Miss 12. Trampoline Nationals are being held and all her team mates are there - everyone except her. And they are doing really well - all her squad have won gold medals in at least one discipline so far. And she is really pleased and excited for them - but also wistful and a bit sad that she isn't there bouncing to glory herself - or at least cheering them on. So keeping busy has seemed like a good plan. Our first outing on Tuesday was to a lake just outside town. It's a good spot for rare waders and some had been seen the previous day. We had no luck with the rare ones - partly due to luck but also because they tend to frequent the far side of the lake and you need a scope (expensive) to be able to see them. But we did get to see lots of Wrybill - a bird endemic to New Zealand and unique because it is the only bird in the world with a beak that bends sideways - to the right. Miss 12 hadn't seen one before so she was especially pleased. On Thursday we went across town to a wetlands where Shining Cuckoos had been heard for the first time this season - they migrate north to Pacific islands for the winter and are just returning to breed. We managed to hear one but didn't get to see it . Not a surprise because they are more commonly seen than heard. Friday was beautiful so we opted to take a long walk through another reserve. We weren't expecting any new species but we did see lots to make us smile - especially good views of a Kingfisher, Bellbird, Harrier, California Quail plus a pair of Paradise Shelducks and their five stripey ducklings. Not to mention hearing another Shining Cuckoo plus several Grey Warblers. In some ways I enjoy these trips more than the sort we were are trying to spot a particular species. But on Sunday we went back to the lake to hunt down waders. We had no more luck than earlier in the week. Next Time!
Miss 12 and Mr 15 watched two versions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They stumbled across the modern version with Johnny Depp on television one night but decided they preferred the original so watched that a few nights later. And what better to do while watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory than eat Wonka's chocolate!
There was also plenty of cooking (bread, lemon apple cake, steak burritos and parsley crumbed fish). Plus lots of browsing through recipes looking for new inspiration. There was lots of discussion about local body politics since we are in the middle of elections. It's a postal ballot and votes close next weekend so all the adults in the family (four of us this time around since Miss 18 is now eligible to vote) were busy reading all the election material and making decisions. Finally, Miss 12 and I attended an ornithology society meeting where we listened to a speaker talk about her experience with southern seabirds and particularly her research on albatross.