Red Sky in Morning – Shepherds’ Warning – which signals the end of the golden weather for now

I made a few more short astro timelapse sequences during the night and by first light the sky had clouded over and all of the snowy faces to the west had a distinctive red tinge.

Shepherds' Warning

Dramatic Weather Change – Red Sky over Tititea at 5.50 this morning.

Around 40mm of rain is forecast in the next 36 hours or so which the Keas will wellome because one of their favoured water sources, some puddles in a rim around the top of the sealed plastic water tanks on the front deck, have now dried up completely. Yesterday I placed a litre or so of water there and within a few minutes two birds had turned up to drink from it.

Although the light hasn’t been particularly conducive for photography today there has still been plenty to do.Its a never ending job keeping all the various batteries charged and the CF cards properly formatted & lenses & filters cleaned ad infinitum. Thats the real tedious part but it is the most crucial. Then there is all of the reviewing editing and cataloguing of the images and backing up and archiving the files where necessary. So far I have accumulated nearly 600Gb of files in the 6 days we have been here. That includes the HD movie files from yesterday and the all night night sky astro session which involved a HD image file every 9 seconds for the entire night.

I have been fine tuning my systems & procedures for making HD videos of the engrossing Kea behaviours with SLR Magic Lantern programme and a high quality external stereo microphone. There are so many things that need to be coordinated in the process to be able to pull it all off that its not funny. I guess that’s why most film productions travel around in grand entourages with large teams of technowizzes.

This afternoon I conducted an experiment and played back my recorded calls of the Kea back to them. It really got them animated. However they wouldn’t stay still in the same spot for long enough to let me film them.

Never mind. Late this afternoon we had a Kea Hoolie when 13 birds arrived to cause mayhem in the camp. For a while the centre of focus was the long drop dunnie roof and I managed to get some great footage of the hilarious interactions and nutty behaviour of these endearing clowns.

Unfortunately all of those images are part of the video sequence files and not able to be incorporated into the blog posting tonight easily, so some other photos will have to suffice for tonight.

Cushion Plant

Cushion plant community near the Whare Kea Chalet

There are some scrumptious, beautifully delicate cushion plant communities quite close to the chalet. I find the orderliness of them mind boggling.

Cushion plants

Here is part of another one.

reticulated patterns

And another.. I find the reticulated patterns fascinating


Yet another one of a distinctive Raoulia community. There is a little beetle included in this one. I must have spooked him and made him want to hide in the crack because he seemed to be enjoying the late afternoon sun before I disturbed him. Sorry Beetle.

Albert Burn Saddle Tarns

There are numerous Cushion Plant Fields near to the distinctive tarns in the Albert Burn Saddle

Whare Kea Chalet

The Southern facing wall of the Chalet last evening. The spacious deck is absolutely perfect for photography.

Robyn would like to add a few comments about the spectacular Kea visitation event late this afternoon.

A change in the weather brought steely grey skies and not good photographing light. Intermittent spots of rain during the afternoon were enough to cause Gilbert to disconnect the pump and bring it in, specially with the promise of heavy rain in the night. A cold wind got up and outside was generally unappealing until a few raucous screeches took us outside. Our usual crew had arrived, but had gathered the whole team – somewhere between 11 and 14 – it was rather hard to count as they went from scrapping on the peak of the roof as they wrestled with the wind or sitting on the ground more or less sheltered. Why they would all be out in such a wind was hard to fathom as they seemed to have real issues with it, unlike the black back gulls which rode the waves serenely.

Seeing all the keas flying together was amazing as they seem so lead footed and somewhat clumsy on the ground.

Another day, another highlight! And tonight’s lamb curry is smelling delicious.

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One thought on “Red Sky in Morning – Shepherds’ Warning – which signals the end of the golden weather for now

  1. What a treat! Looking forward to seeing the kea footage. The cushions are unreal, loving the daily dose of a bit of Whare Kea paradise. Love B

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