Monday, August 28, 2006

It seems I really was running in a phenomonal downpour yesterday. Two more houses evacuated following slips, and a train on the Johnsonville line derailed. Driving to the Sanctuary this morning there were small slips all the way from Aro Valley to Karori. At the Sanctuary water was crashing through the dam overflow outlet. The stream had reached river proportions and was pushing roughly underneath the Te Mahanga boardwalk. From the aftermath it was clear that the steep Union Mine track had become a waterfall at the rain's peak.

Hamish was asleep in bed, having returned home from another of Aviel's parties at 6.30am. Such is the life of a superstar vj, so I got up at 8am and left him to it. The weather forecast suggested that the storm was over, but as a precaution I stopped off at the Warewhare and bought a cute little $19.95 rain parker that zips up into a zip pouch. Who knows whether it will actually provide any protection - thankfully the predications were accurate and the clouds failed to release any more ammunition. BTW: pity the poor Warehouse staff who have to be at work for an 8.30am opening. Who really needs to go to the Warehouse at that time of the morning on a Sunday? Oh, um, me. Oh, okay...

I think I'm going to have to get into orienteering. Armed with nothing more than some slightly dodgy written instructions I have managed to find 18 nestboxes over two weekends, some in rather remote locations, without getting lost or seriously maiming myself. That's despite the instructions to the first nestbox of today's nestboxes being completely incorrect. Confused, I bushcrashed my way to a brightly coloured piece of tape in the distance, hoping vainly it would lead me in the right direction. Unfortunately all it did was lead me to a completely wrong transect line. Frustrated and a little anxious I eventually managed to bushcrash my way back down to the track again. Thinking a little more clearly, I realised that the directions referred to the wrong Hihi feeder. Once that issue was resolved locating the nestbox was a piece of cake. In fact all of the nestboxes I visited today were , although a long way from the track, relatively easy to find and access.

After a while I was able to dull the sense of anxiety and self-preservation that had been dominating my emotions, sit down, and calmly enjoy my environs. The bush in the area of the Sanctuary I am working in now is truly beautiful and tranquil (when its aura isn't being disrupted by Angsty Pip). When the start-of-the-season nerves abated I was able to remember why I do this again. Already I have noted several promising signs of pair-forming, and hopefully this will be a good season.

I really enjoyed the walk back down the Round The Lake track to the ops shed. Walking down a well-maintained track always feels so easy after crashing through the undergrowth for over four hours. I also had that 'hanging out in the bush' glow on.

The Eastern RTL is full of Hihi testosterone at the moment. The feeders are being mobbed, and males fighting for territory are using the track as a flight path, hot in pursuit of the enemy. It's all very exciting, because I haven't really seen that many Hihi in this particular part of the Sanctuary before. It feels like they've all turned up specially to entertain me!

I always LOOK like I've been doing something hardcore after a nestbox session in wet weather. I wind up muddy EVERYWHERE. Hot showers aren't just good after wet runs. They're good after long cold damp days in the bush as well.

This is going to be a hugely active week. Weights and a one hour run tomorrow, a Mt Victoria hill run on Wednesday, training with Duck, RPM and two homework runs. Let's see whether I manage to survive!

No comments: