Traveling through the South Island resembled cruising in one powerful way—we were entirely at the mercy of the weather gods, especially as we cruised down the west coast. We checked the weather compulsively (Weather Underground being an eerily accurate source that could predict exactly when the rain would fall) and routed ourselves accordingly. 

Then there would be those surprise moments of light clouds, a beam or two of sunshine; no matter where we were, we would stop and enjoy the surrounds. It was perfect, really, because the South Island has so much to see that anytime the clouds lifted, there was a lake to explore, or glow worm caves to spelunk, or a bakery with delicious savory pies coming out of the oven.

We stopped at Lake Mahinapua during one such moment, a shallow lake just south of Hokitika, and were delighted by silvereyes that darted between bushes and trees. These birds are teeny tiny, only an inch or two in height, and move so quickly that it can be hard to identify anything other than the brilliant circle around their eye.

Dominic captured a few photos with the zoom lens (that we gifted to Helios over the holidays), and only now that I go through the pictures can I appreciate the color of their feathers—olives, steel blues, blushes, blended like the palette of a watercolor.