Well, we got one more wonderful treat as we walked through the magnificent landscape—the antics of the New Zealand pipit! This little wisp of a bird, so saucy and curious, popped up and down in the megaherbs while we smiled and laughed and tried to get photos of him. He’s not so colorful as the plants around him, but he is so hyperactive that he’s in constant motion—flapping his wings, stomping his tiny feet, jumping in place, darting hither and yon, that you cannot miss him. He also is a success story of the island because he is a ground-nester and could not survive the assaults of the rats before they were eradicated. Now he has come back to his home and is living well and even merrily where Nature intended him to be! Departing on the Zodiacs to return to the Odyssey was bitter-sweet: the visit to this wonderful island was thoroughly enjoyable but it was hard to tear ourselves away from the experience knowing that it was truly a once-in- lifetime privilege. However, the Expedition Leader had another special experience in store for us in the afternoon; a Zodiac trip around the coast of Campbell and among the rock stacks, skerries, and arches standing out from the main landmass. We could sign up for one or two hour rides, but the tours were so awe-inspiring and gorgeous that everyone ended up wanting the complete adventure. Incredibly, the blue sky continued to blaze above our heads and sunlight carefully delineated every angle of rock, every waving tussock grass, every serpentine piece of giant kelp flowing back and away with the tide, every feather flick on the exposed ledges, every direction change in the layering of the geologic strata, every shadow under an rock arch or an outcrop. On the Zodiac cruise, we saw many seabirds as well, some a-wing over us and others standing unsteadily on rock slides plunging towards the seawaters, others on the protuberances: endemic yellow-eyed penguins with an estimated population of only 4000-5000 pairs), Eastern Rockhopper penguins all jaunty with their yellow crests and red eyes, lightly mantled sooty albatross, rare Campbell Albatross and grey-headed ones too.
Can ‘t remember whether or not I have defined “endemic” before: it means
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