A walk in the park…
It’s 54ºF, with winds gusting lustily and constant rain—the aftermath of cyclone Gita. So naturally I’m touring the Christchurch Botanic Gardens today.
I meant to endure the walk through Hagley park—a virtual ghost town compared to our first stroll here on the sunny afternoon of our arrival—before ducking into the adjacent Canterbury Museum and out of the rain. That’s what all the other tourists seem to be doing.
I pass only one other pedestrian as I cross the the park from west to east on my way from our lodging at the Roma on Riccarton Motel.
…and in the Christchurch Botanic Garden
In spite of the rain, or perhaps because of it, the patinaed garden gates beckon.
I’m grateful that I took to heart the most common piece of packing advice I heard for New Zealand: bring a rain coat in any season. My 20 year old REI Gore-Tex jacket continues to serve me very well.
The Armstrong Lawn opens out near the entrance to the museum. Dripping flowers and hopping birds catch my eye.
I wander over to snap a photo of the dolphin† fountain before being tempted along by a glimpse of the Curator’s House. It’s operated as a cafe now, but a charming structure put to any use.
Next to this is a beguiling kitchen garden, leading to a peek at the Avon river, and even more avian species. I realize that I can’t resist walking through an arbor. I pass through each as I encounter it, letting them dictate my path through the Botanic Garden.
The river is taking up more than its fair share of the park today, but the ducks enjoy that fact.
So does a small, blue heron. He appears to be waiting for something as he stands in a protected patch of grass behind a fence; it might be brunch, or the departure of the men preparing a stage for some upcoming event.
I know very little about birds, plus have poor eyesight and limited patience. In spite of this, New Zealand makes me seriously consider taking up bird watching as a hobby. It’s simply teeming with interesting winged creatures.
Birds in the rain keep busy nabbing worms on the
run crawl from flooded soil, bathing in the puddles, and napping with heads tucked neatly under wings.
I can’t give you the names of any more of these feathered friends, but it is often the tiny “city birds” dining. Two of them would fit in my hand if I could coax them out of the bush. I call them Two-in-the-hand birds for the rest of my time in Christchurch.