A Long Overdue Post

Just because I fell off the northern hemisphere doesn’t mean I’ve totally disappeared. I figure it’s time I dusted this thing off and provided some updates. Since my last post, I have been enjoying Wellington’s Green Belt and Zealandia, an eco-sanctuary. If you want to know more about these, just click on the links and it should take you to the respective websites. If not…oops. The public transportation around Wellington and into the suburbs is pretty amazing with extensive bus and train routes. Even better, the trains allow one to take their bike to the surrounding areas without needing a vehicle, which is great since people drive on the wrong side of the road here. I still make mistakes checking for oncoming traffic when crossing the road, but thankfully I have only ridden my bike into oncoming traffic once (sorry mom and dad).

But enough rambling! The pictures below come from Wellington’s green space, which is often more brown than green because of vast amounts of grazing/farm land, something I did not expect when I first arrived. Although Wellington is a coastal city, the coast is largely defined by large hills, as you can see:

Who knew the New Zealand forests are where the Smurphs reside? Anyway, while the Green Belt is amazing, it is nothing compared to Zealandia. For some brief background, aside from a single species of bat, NZ evolved without mammals, therefore many species of birds became ground dwellers. However, when people arrived, they brought possums, rats, mice, cats, etc., which, because birds had not evolved to defend against or compete with mammals before, decimated many native bird species. Since 1990, Zealandia has pioneered special fencing and traps that rid eco-sanctuaries of mammals, thus allowing native bird and lizard populations to flourish again. Walking into Zealandia, one is first shocked by all of the unique bird calls and then shocked again by the sight of some truly fascinating birds. Here are some shots:

And here are just a few more photos out of Zealandia that I like:

Next, I’m trying to con my way onto glaciers with some scientists, so I’ll let you know if that works out. That’s it for now!

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