One last story before we leave the Maniototo. Not long after seeing the turkeys in the previous post, and with David now flying along the road at full speed keen to get home, I spotted these two identical mounds in a paddock. They were a fair distance from the road and I couldn’t work out what they might be. David skidded to a halt and backed back up until we had them opposite us.
Then, he with the binoculars and me with my camera lens fully zoomed, tried to work out what on earth they were. Teddy bear heads? Pigs heads? Tuffs of hay? Clumps of dirt? They didn’t move and why were they identical? Perhaps they’d dropped off a tractor or trailer, the run ends of a bale or packed mud out of a tire groove. They were right at the extreme end of our sight through both the binoculars and the camera and just looked like dark lumps to the naked eye. We just couldn’t decide what they were so I took a couple of shots anyway and thought I’d zoom in on them later and see if I could identify them.
Well I forgot about them until I was sorting the batch of photos for the previous blog, when I came across them and cropped and enhanced the shots. The one above was taken with my 300mm lens, the one below I have cropped in post-processing. Can you see what they are? A pair of hares; a male and female by the look of it. I think the male is on the right, the more rusty coloured of the two . What a laugh, they had us fooled, they didn’t move a muscle all the time we were parked there watching and wondering. Click on the photo to increase the size and then zoom in on them further, you can see their beady eyes watching us.
And because I didn’t want to give the game away above I didn’t add hare to the list but I actually did say to David just after I spotted them that I thought they were hares. But because they didn’t move and we couldn’t work them out I gave that away after looking at them for a few minutes.
Here they are cropped to within an inch of their life-
We’ve decided we must check things out a bit more fully in future, this was the second of three things we’ve mistakenly identified or failed to identify lately. The first was the NZ Falcon, it was ages before we realised the falcon we saw at Kyeburn was in fact a falcon, for a long while we thought it was one of the hawks that were hunting over the finches too.
Then there were these hares and the third, as we were leaving Rarangi to catch the ferry, we saw about 16 White Herons/Kotuku feeding in a paddock along with a flock of gulls. It didn’t seem quite right though, Kotuku are usually lone birds or 2-3 birds on a waterway not 16 following a ploughing tractor. Of course they weren’t white herons, they were their slightly smaller cousins, the not often seen Cattle Egret, an Australian migrant that often winters over in New Zealand. And our first sighting which we couldn’t make the most of because we had a ferry to catch.
To be fair, this is what we saw from the road (click to enlarge)-
And when I zoomed in, you might still think they were white herons-
I think it’s time for some stronger binos and a longer lens!
And maybe the heading should have read 'Eye, Eye What Have We Hare'