Last night I was given the opportunity to witness such a wonderful thing. While I’ve been here, I’ve only been doing the routine tourist things. And while it is great, tourists often miss out on the little things.
My housemate’s friend organised for us to see mutton birds last night. They spend all day at sea and then come back to their roost at dusk to feed their chicks (only during the breeding season. They’re in the north hemmie the rest of the time).
This isn’t a tourist attraction. In fact, few locals know about it. There is a path to a little viewing deck but it was so windy that we went off the path (which you can get into trouble for) and settled near where some roosts were (making sure we didn’t step on them and ruin them). We had wine and a cheese platter, which was really nice.
One moment there was one bird in the sky and the next moment there was thousands. The guy said that 20 years ago, the sky use to be black with them. But like most animals, populations have been declining.
It was amazing, watching them fly about the place in silence. Some flew so close that you could hear their wingbeats. My housemate wondered off and came back a little while later holding one (she’s been catching and tagging birds for 4 years now…but we would get into a shit of trouble if the rangers knew…) so we got a good look at one.