Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Roys Lagoon Birdlife, Mt Hay Station, Mackenzie Country

Tues 08.12.15. I parked my car beside Lilybank Rd in Lake Tekapo Regional Park & wandered up Ebenezer Ln through pine forest. About 1 km up the gravel lane, I crossed Mt Hay Station fence by a locked gate, as I wanted to birdwatch at Roys Lagoon about 4 kms away. Map ref: BY17 029268. As Mt Hay Station is a working sheep station permission must be obtained from owners before any climbing / walks on the station.

I followed a farm track past stony, moraine hills & a dry dam, then continued along the farm track, rounding a grassy, moraine hill to a farm gate by a series of willowed tarns. I saw two foraging, pied stilts & several paradise shelducks on the tarns. Five black swans flew off towards Roys Lagoon, a hidden lagoon in a glacial kettle hole, unseen from Mt John summit above Lake Tekapo.

A spur winged plover stood on a tarn shore while I wandered past, with grand views of Mt Edward, Mt Maud, Mt Dobson, Mt Ardmore & Mt Hay. I followed another farm track past a dry tarn & rounded another grassy, moraine hill towards the homestead & Roys Lagoon.

I wandered the grassy, moraine hill south of Roys Lagoon, as it gave high views of the lagoon. I saw flocks of ducks, too small & distant to identify with my binoculars, but flocks of Canada geese, black swans & brown cygnets were easy to see floating on Roys Lagoon. I spotted a couple of Australasian harriers soaring & hunting rabbits. Ditto a NZ falcon flapping its wings, hovering & hunting too. A couple of black backed gulls & a southern pied oystercatcher flew by.

As the moraine hillside was north facing, there were many alpine cushion plants & mat plants, Raoulia & Scleranthus species, amongst purple topped grasses & tussocks. Light green, Raoulia scabweed bloomed masses of tiny, yellow flowers, pollinated by scurrying, NZ native bees, their pollen sacs full. An olive green Raoulia species had slightly bigger, matted foliage & creamy flowers.

I returned to my car, over moraine hill country, via another series of dry & watered tarns, closer to Lilybank Rd. The circular walk was about 10 kms. A shorter, more direct walk to Roys Lagoon can be done from Mt Hay Station homestead, situated 8 kms along Lilybank Rd.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

No comments:

Post a Comment