Saturday 23 February
Today I walked through the waters from just south of the Masterton sewage treatment ponds – and did I know it. The stench as I walked down to the river had me worried, but I soon walked through it.
I found the mythical colony of back-billed gulls that my ornithological friends were asking about, on a backwater at Te Whiti o Tu. They were not pleased to seem me, dive bombing me as I walked through their shit-splattered boulders.
I walked underneath the Hurunuiorangi Bridge as a bush of motor scooter fanatics made their way over the bridge. Slightly disconcerting.
One of the highlights of the walk was this fabulous cliff, with layers of colour displayed.
As I walked down further I could hear the bird scarers working at the various vineyards, and suddenly realised that the birds had disappeared from the bed of the river. This lasted for a quite a while, but as I ventured further south the birds returned.
It was great to reach the confluence of the Waiohine, which had a surprising amount of water considering the drouhgt - much mkore than the Waingawa earlier in the day.
I had no lunch with me, and when I stopped to pick some blackberries, a pair of quail whirred out of the large bramble patch I chose. I suspect I got more of as fright than they did!
I hauled out of the river at Healy's property in Fabians Road, near Greytown, after a seven hour day rockhopping. I was hot, and tired, but pleased to have made such good progress.