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Thread: New Zealand, S Island, west coast

  1. #11

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    Re: New Zealand, S Island, west coast

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    My intro to keas was when I took a hike from a research station in the foothills of the Alps (Mt Torlesse). After hiking up to the peak and making my way down a ridge, 5 keas took off from across the valley and encircled me. Quite interesting. A bird who looks like it could do some damage!
    Not only can, it does. My first intro to them was in Arthurs Pass where they proceeded to eat my rental car. Well, OK, they ate my weather stripping and wiper blades (called "rubbers" by the locals.) You can see them most anywhere on the West Coast, including in town in Franz Josef.
    There are 3 kinds of people in the world: those who can count and those who can't.

  2. #12
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: New Zealand, S Island, west coast

    When I was going to uni down there, the story was that a student came out of the bush to find a kea eating the rubber around the front window of his MG -- he tossed a rock at it with the predictable results.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  3. #13
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: New Zealand, S Island, west coast

    Reminds me of stories about Marmots at Mineral King chewing on auto hoses, though I've never had any kind of problem with them. There were rumors about early season rangers with .22 rifles. And I've actually seen cars wrapped with chicken wire to keep them out. My worst rodent incident is when a friend made fun of me carrying a spare set of truck keys in my pack starting out for a two-weeker in SEKI. He had driven his own van, and put his key is a magnetic Hide-A-Key behind the front bumper. When we finally got back all exhausted and dirty one evening, he couldn't find the key. Some chipmunk or chickaree had gotten ahold of his key container and taken off with it. It took about an hour and a half with our headlamps to finally spot it back in the manzanita.

  4. #14

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    Re: New Zealand, S Island, west coast

    Gee guys, all these stories can make a grown man nervous. Is it OK to disregard?

  5. #15
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: New Zealand, S Island, west coast

    Don't worry about the Keas -- the sand flies will take your mind off of the birds!
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  6. #16
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: New Zealand, S Island, west coast

    I don't know about Humboldt County, but in the redwoods around here, the biggest danger is the carnivorous deer.

  7. #17
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: New Zealand, S Island, west coast

    Elk around here...you should see the fangs on them!

    I was surrounded by an elk harem while in the middle of a long exposure -- as soon as it was over, I tore down and packed up that 8x10 the fastest yet -- the bull was making strange noises at me! Didn't matter if they were friendly or angry noises...I was out of there. I climbed over a couple fallen redwoods and he calmed down.

    NZ does have a poisonous spider they are sort of proud of...lives in the driftwood at the beach. Semi-rare, semi-dangerous, possibly fatal if the wrong person got bit far from help. The fantail (bird) follows you closely through the bush -- quite fun. They are getting insects you stir up as you walk. There is a vine with nasty thorns -- called lawyer vine, for obvious reasons. Stay away from fields of gorse -- nasty thorns...an import from jolly old England. I even saw some of that stuff in Chile.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  8. #18

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    Re: New Zealand, S Island, west coast

    The most fearsome thing I've witnessed in the Redwoods (other than bigfoot) were the Dreaded Banana Slugs. They move fast and have enormous fangs for their size and have an insatiable appetite. Did I mention their blazing speed? They are capable of devouring huge mushrooms in no time at all. Several were seen hovering outside the bearbox at my campsite just waiting for an opportunity to eat more. Just imagine the horrors if one got some granola!!! Most terrifying, I've personally heard of one hitchhiking a ride in a car to the city and quickly establishing a new colony in the south.
    Last edited by Matt Stage; 13-Oct-2019 at 02:59.

  9. #19
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: New Zealand, S Island, west coast

    Matt, the easiest way to stay alive in banana slug country is to never have a banana in your pack or lunch pail. Attach it to a cord at least twenty yards long, and drag it way back behind you. That will give you time to run before the slugs catch up to you. I'm sure someone like Pere can provide a precise mathematical formula for the rate of slug acceleration, with ground friction plus entropy factored in, although he'll forget the variable of how many calories of banana fructose a slug needs to achieve top speed. Although they eat bananas, they prefer blood. Their actual scientific name is Disgusticus vampirus. There's also a tailwind variable; slugs are highly aerodynamic. And as you well know, the UC Santa Cruz basketball team is named the Banana Slugs and is routinely in the top ten college teams due to its exceptional athletic prowess.

  10. #20

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    Re: New Zealand, S Island, west coast

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    Don't worry about the Keas -- the sand flies will take your mind off of the birds!
    What Vaughn said. One sand fly bite will make you miserable for 3 days. Take bug spray. Any time you are near water, spray it on....a lot....and then some more. You will thank us for this. But then, you won't really appreciate the advice unless you've been bitten...and then....oh, never mind. just spray a lot.
    There are 3 kinds of people in the world: those who can count and those who can't.

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