Monday, October 27, 2014

Week Ending 26 October 2014

Several weeks ago I saw an advertisement for an essay competition run by the university's College of Business and Law. I hoped it might interest Mr 16 and somewhat to my surprise it did. While I knew the topic - looking at different political parties' approaches to a capital gains tax - would appeal to him, writing is not his favourite activity and he spends as little time as possible on it. However, he spent ages drafting, revising and editing and actually complained that the word limit was too short (something he has never said before in his life!) and that he couldn't include all the details he wanted to (my standard response to his writing is that it needs more detail). All that effort obviously paid off since this week he found out he'd been awarded first prize.


He's now busy planning how to spend his prize money!

Miss 13 and I spend the week at my parents' place. My Mum had back surgery a couple of weeks ago so we went to give them a hand since there is a lot she isn't allowed to do for several more weeks. It could have been a four hour journey but because we took the scenic route and made several lengthy stops the trip down actually took us over ten hours!. Since one of the areas we drove through was rich in geological history many of our stops were geology themed.



Most of these shots are of Elephant Rocks which was the location of Aslan's camp in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie.


The cliffs in the collage above had caves underneath. This is some of the ancient Maori rock art that can be seen there.

We even managed to tie our interest in birds into geology. A small geology museum we visited held fossils from an ancient giant penguin plus several moa bones.

Regular readers won't be surprised to learn that we made several birding stops on our journey plus fitted in a couple of birding trips while we were at my parents' place. All up we added six new species to our year list. Three of these were new to our life list as well which is especially exciting. Miss 13 is now just one bird short of her goal of 100 species for the year! Our efforts to crack that magic number on our return trip were all unsuccessful.


This is a Takahe. They were thought to be extinct but were rediscovered in 1948. Takahe live in very remote mountain regions but this one was translocated to a predator proof sanctuary where it roams freely.

This is a Yellow-Eyed Penguin. This one was already in his burrow when we arrived but we watched another come ashore after a day spent fishing at sea.



Ducklings are always cute. These are Paradise Shelducks. On the first day we visited this site there were eight ducklings. The next day only four remained.

In between travelling and birding we managed to keep up with our three MOOCs. The Shakespeare one is our current favourite. This week's play was Henry V and the lectures looked at how the play reflected warfare of the time. There was also time for reading. Miss 13 has begun the Hunger Games trilogy while I started The Miniaturist which I'm now enjoying, although it did take me a while to really get into the story.

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