Out Numbered and Surrounded – Kea Camp on Percy Saddle (Part Two)

“On a Mish” #116 Surrounded and Outnumbered – Part Two. Percy Saddle to Lake Manapouri. Fiordland National Park. 21.7.2019. I have had the lucky pleasure of watching Kea be Kea many times while hiking in the mountains. No matter what, they will always remain my favourite birds / animals due to both their beauty and their choice of locations to live. But along with their beauty I have also seen their wreckless cheekiness and expensively destructive side. On one camping trip near the magnificent Rob Roy Glacier I watched as a particularly brave Kea landed on my bros tent and then proceeded to chew a large hole in the roof. Back on Percy Saddle two Kea became five, then ten, then TWENTY, and I started to feel like this was going to be ‘Rob Roy Glacier Camp’ all over again…

I enjoyed an anxious dinner, amongst the ever growing gang of Mountain Parrots, and if things weren’t interesting enough already, a light snow began to fall on the saddle and surrounding Turret Mountains.

Now that darkness had taken over the Kea seemed to vanish back to their Kea homes and I was left alone on the saddle in the silence of the snow falling. I retreated to the warmth of my sleeping bag and thought that was it for night, and drifted off to sleep… for about 45 minutes.

The entire gang returned and for the rest of the night a Kea party raged outside, EVERYONE was invited! The darkness of night became the dim light of early-ish morning, and outside my tent the party raged on. Now that it was light I could see the entrance of my tent and I could also see lots of little beaks sneaking under the tent fly trying to grab anything they could. Sleep was impossible now so I got up to say Kia Ora to my new friends, and the shindig was still in full swing.

Breakfast was a mission in itself, as the braver Kea would land on my tent as a distraction, and as I scared those guys away other Kea would then take the opportunity to mess with my cooking set up. A cooked breakfast turned into a quick coffee and muesli bar, as enough was enough, and it was time to get out of Keatown.

I was escorted out of town, and I was finally left alone once off the saddle and down the road back towards West Arm. What a crazy night and even though they were a pain, it was such an honour to see these amazing creatures in big numbers in their natural environment. So even though I had once again been terrorised by New Zealand’s cheekiest creature, the Kea is still my favourite New Zealander!

Out Numbered and Surrounded!!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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