29 December 2015

Whio family, Pohangina headwaters

On Boxing Day I walked down the Pohangina river from Leon Kinvig hut to Ngamoko hut. The river was gorgeously limpid but many crossings were swift and powerful; fortunately, the deepest (almost reaching my waist) were slower. One small gorge, however, requires either floating — something I wasn't prepared to do on my own — or a steep climb, traverse, and descent along an overgrown track.

I'd almost reached the riverbed at the end of this track when I heard a whistle and knew instantly this is what I'd been hoping for. The track at that point skirts a near-vertical drop, and, looking down, I could see the deep green pool where the river exits the gorge.

Swimming in the pool was a family of whio: the two adults and five chicks.

I photographed them from above then carried on down to the riverbed and continued photographing as they swam slowly into the gorge. They allowed me time for only a handful of photographs, but I'd be a true grinch to complain about having just a few minutes to enjoy the sight of these wonderful birds.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor


Megan Stace-Davies said...

A beautiful photo, Pete. So glad you got to see a whio family - an excellent Christmas gift.
Best wishes, Megan

Avus said...

I did a double-take when I read that quite casual reference to a river crossing up to your waist - on Boxing day!? Then I remembered that your seasons are back to front compared to the UK. I guess you did not come out wreathed in ice, after all!
Great image, Pete. Worth the trouble.

Relatively Retiring said...

What a lovely Christmas gift for you. I bet they had been hanging about there for ages, waiting for you.

pohanginapete said...

Thank you, Megan.I'd love to go back in to see if I can find them again and spend more time with them.

Avus, doing that walk down the river in mid-winter would be risky — the two biggest killers in the NZ mountains are rivers and hypothermia, and a trip then would combine both those risks. On a warm summer's day like this one, even a waist-deep wade isn't too unpleasant.

RR, I'd like to believe they were waiting for me. It seems only fair — I've spent plenty of time by evening rivers, waiting for them.

Ruahines said...

Kia Ora Pete....stoked for you e hoa! That is so cool. Happy to report saw several pair on the Maropea as well.

pohanginapete said...

Kia ora Robb. That's great news that they seem to be doing well in the Maropea, too. Pairs should have chicks at this time of year, though, so I hope they haven't lost their broods.

Zhoen said...

Gifts are all about being able to see the gift. I'm all for them waiting for your arrival.

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, I'll go with that :-)

Jono said...

Hey Pete. Sounds like you had a good trip. Hopefully some of those 5 can survive to adulthood. I bet it was a nice day to be travelling down (and in) the Pohangina.

Will be in touch about a tramp sometime, probably not for a month or so now :(

pohanginapete said...

Jono, it was an excellent trip. Managed by best photograph so far of a deer, too (still far from great, but pleasing nevertheless).
That timing suits me better. It'll depend on what's happening at work, but the chances of getting away should be better in a month.