New Plymouth has much to recommend it.
Allegedly, there is a mountain nearby, though there was no sign of it for most of yesterday. However, the city seems very well equipped with recreation spaces for its citizens and visitors. A jewel in that crown is the splendid 11km coastal walkway which runs from the port in the West, to Bell Block in the East. Where it passes through the Lake Rotomanu reserve at Fitzroy, is the four-year old Te Rewa Rewa pedestrian bridge. My words can’t do justice to this so here is a link to the Wikipedia description. It is probably the most photographed bridge in the country.
Mary was visiting her Aunt, so I wandered along the walkway, and was intrigued by the number of common mynah (Acridotheres tristis) in the flax. When I was young, it was rare to see a mynah South of Hamilton.
A new noise came to my ears, louder even than the nearby waves on thee beach. An underlying rumble overlaid with the babble of a thousand starlings was soon traced to a herd of crash helmets in the distance. Someone had organised a scooter event for the kids and hundreds of them turned out. It was quite impressive.
In the afternoon, Mary and I went up the mountain (still unseen) to the Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust’s splendid gardens. Most of the rhododendrons had flowered and dropped their blooms, but the extensive network of bushwalks was a joy in itself.
Late in the day, while Mary was again with her aunt, I went back to the Lake Rotomanu reserve. As I parked I heard a small bird warbling its heart out. It was against the sun so I couldn’t identify it with any certainty but thought it to be a grey warbler. When I got the image onto the computer and applied the appropriate corrections, I was astonished to discover it was a waxeye. I had never thought of them as songbirds.
I went back to the bridge which is, by design aligned so that the alleged mountain can be seen framed by its ribs. And there it was.