It’s better not to leave your food unattended in West Arm’s kitchen. A second of inattention and your meal disappeared, swallowed up by a couple of voracious Chaffinchs having made their hunting territory in the kitchen. Yes, I’m exaggerating. But I am not far from the truth.
The lodge where I live since I arrived in Te Anau is located at the end of Lakeview Holiday Park in a quiet corner. Baptized West Arm in reference to the name of one of the arms of Lake Manapouri, it is articulated in six blocks around a common space sheltering the kitchen and the lounge. The buildings are made of wood, slightly elevated from the ground and surrounded by a whole bunch of shrubs and flowering plants. It is rural and pleasant to live.
The kitchen is a large room filled with shelves, fridges, cooking utensils and hot plates whose windows and doors are always open. Of course, it did not take long to the nearby birds to understand that it was Alibaba’s cave. All the local chaffinches come here to feed. Their behavior is extraordinary. They learned not to smash against the windows (what most birds do because they do not understand what a window is) and to go in and out through the open spaces. When one of the glass door is closed, well they realize it! It’s incredible to see them jumping in front of the door as if they were trying to make you understand that you have to open it.
And then they are all the time here, hopping around the corners of the room, picking all the remaining crumbs, fluttering over my head almost hovering while I cook and pushing small cries that seem to say “Give me your crumbs”. But they do not let themselves to be touched. Which is definitely a good thing for their safety. Some visitors do not like the fact that the kitchen is filled with birds. I think it adds charm to the place. And, it’s fascinating to observe the behavior of these little birdies.
In Queenstown, one of those little finches, more familiar, landed on my knee while I was eating my meal!
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