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Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Bridge Guardian and Suspicious Poultry

I was going about my business, just hunting in the bush (as you do) and there he was. The most magnificent duck I have ever seen.


He lay on the bridge I wanted to cross and stared at me from among a group of regular sized ducks that appeared to be body guards (or maybe adoring acolytes)

Although he was at least four feet shorter than me, he stared me down, and then wandered off all self-important and dignified, as if he just happened to have another place to go. His entourage followed.


 
In my role as a house sitter and writer I get to explore a lot of country. I am still in New Zealand and travelling the windy highway from Wellington to Napier on the East Coast.

It is called Highway Two (a nod to its importance as the second biggest highway on the North Island) but it is still narrow and parochial. Despite regular road work, it regularly slows to city speeds to pass through the centre of little country towns and if you catch up with a truck you can be doomed to follow at a snail’s pace.

Some of the swathes and folds of emerald and gold hill that make it such a beautiful road to travel can also make it impossible to pass trucks labouring up a circuitous incline.

I can’t complain about the wild life along the road though.

At one park there were some rather marvellous partridges (quail?) hanging out with the ducks.



In another, seagulls played at being ducks, in a busy inner city fountain,


At one highway rest stop hidden behind straggly trees, I found a suspicious looking rooster.


 He had set up a home for his little family next to the picnic table.

 
New Zealand is an awesome country and well worth exploring. If you have never been here, I can recommend it, especially if you can take a road trip. You can even go bush in safety.

We don’t have big spiders, grumpy bears or any snakes, poisonous or otherwise.

Just watch out for grumpy poultry.