I always try to leave home a few minutes early on foggy mornings. For two reasons - the first is to do with my own safety. I need to drive a little more slowly when visibility is low. Last week I hadn't seen a pukeko come up from the creek and walk onto the road. I had to resist the urge to swerve to miss it. I would have ended up in the creek!
The Pukeko, is New Zealand's Swamp Hen . It is one of the few New Zealand native birds to have flourished since the arrival of man, and can be found in almost any grassland area, especially in swampy locations. We rarely see them here on the farm but there are a few areas of swampy land down along the road where they like to hang out, just past where the peacocks are and before you get to the ducks. They are usually easy to see as with their bright blue plumage and red beaks, they easily stand out against the New Zealand greenery, particularly when their white tail feathers begin flashing in alarm. With their long skinny legs they look kind of goofy (and to be honest I don't think they are the brightest sparks in the bird kingdon) and their images appear on all manner of art and craft works. They even make an appearance from time to time in our TV commercials. This is one of them. We all love the pukeko and I felt a bit sick when I felt the thunk that told me I'd hit it.
The second reason for leaving early is because I know chances are I will be tempted to stop to take a photo somewhere between here and the corner. I love how the world looks when softened by fog.
But one morning last week I didn't even make it out of my driveway before I stopped to take a photo: