Moody Gloom starts the day outside

“Moody Gloom” best described the view and atmosphere out of our large panoramic windows at dawn today. The cloud ceiling was only a few metres above us. Some of the patterns of snow in the head basin of the Albert Burn in the sombre light were quite graphic and fascinating.

Moody Gloom

Moody Gloom in the Upper Albert Burn basin this morning with low cloud ceiling

Very distinctive chortling noises heralded the arrival of a vocal group of six Keas who grouped around the base of the weather station tower and set about systematically searching for and excavating plant roots of what appeared to be various Celmisias.

Keas grubbing

Three pairs of Keas at the base of the met station tower systematically searching for roots. The pair on the rock basket are temporarily distracted.

They didn’t stay long before flying off to alight together further down the valley.

I had a willing Kea model for some video filming a short time later as she performed all sorts of contortions and odd angles of legs & beaks and wings etc while carrying out a thorough all over preening job. Hopefully I can show you some stills from the sequences tomorrow.

At the same time on another camera & tripod I was able to set up and capture several time lapse sequences of the forever changing cloud patterns coming and going in both the Matukituki and the Albert Burn valleys. It was difficult to choose the most dramatic angle.. once again I was spoilt for choice.

Matukituki light

Rapidly changing light above the East Matukituki Valley this morning

After a quick late lunch I decided to climb part of the way up on to Dragonfly peak for a fair dollop of cardiovascular exercise.

There were some exquisite cushion plants en route. And squillions of grass hoppers .. some of them spectacularly fat. If we weren’t so well fed here I’d be tempted to try eating some.

Cushion on Dragonfly by Gilbert van Reenen

Another exquisite cushion plant community en route to Dragonfly Peak

Dragonfly Cushion

Stand alone Cushion community on Dragonfly Peak

foliated schist

Moderately folded foliated schist outcrop on the leading spur on Dragonfly peak. Schist is a metamorphic rock formed from marine sediments.

Raoulia Dragonfly

Raoulia Cushion plant on Dragonfly

Raoulia margins

Beautiful patterns at the margins of the Raoulia with

vegetable sheep

The common name of Raoulia is vegetable sheep… for obvious reasons.

South west from Dragonfly

The view to the South West from below the ramparts on Dragonfly

Albert Burn Basin

The Upper Albert Burn from the ridge on Dragonfly

Also highly apparent were large quantities of hare pellet droppings and several Celmisias that had obviously been drastically chewed by the hares.

Hare damage

Celmisias chewed by Hares – thats a whip cord Hebe above it

We haven’t seen any hares here yet. That doesn’t meant they aren’t about though. We haven’t seen Mt Aspiring at all today either and we know its still there.

Robyn also took a walk this afternoon. We will finish tonight with her experience.

Living in the clouds for much of the day made it a good one for my stitching project. Took a shortwalk to the waterfalls at the foot of Dragonfly late in the afternoon – a lovely area with islands of schist/tussocks/cushion plants in a sea of snow. I’d just clambered onto one island when a movement caught my eye and there, right beside me, was one of the kea gang. What is a gang of keas called – it would have to be a cacophony wouldn’t it? We had a conversation and cruised away. A bit later one flew right by showing off his gorgeous orange underwings. They really are something special.

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One thought on “Moody Gloom starts the day outside

  1. It’a a circus! I just did some research to find out what a group of kea are called – very appropriate! Lovely post again M and Dad xxx

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