A midnight tent shot here. Cookie always asks me to wake him up now when I go for a tinkle in the night, in case there’s some great moonlight or starscape shots to be had. We found ourselves a good spot, not too soggy, not too rocky. And sat round for dinner. Lurking in the shadows, unknown to us, we were being watched …
At first we heard the noises … like drunk seagulls. Then suddenly, some rustling behind you… “Bah!”, “What was that?”, “Ooo creepy”. Squinting into the darkness, trying to make out shapes in the long grass… Something was darting around. Getting up to investigate, we were unaware we were being cunningly lured away from our pots and pans, sporks and cheese… Suddenly! A tinkle and jangle over your shoulder by camp. “Woa! How’d he get over there so fast?”. It was an ambush! Teams of Kea were circling like wolves, keen to get their hands ( beaks! ) on anything sparkly or tasty. We were sitting ducks. Hurriedly gathering everything together, tying our boots to our rucksacks, and stashing the rations, we ran at them to chase them off. Not realising the kea were only playing along, looking scared, only to about-turn immediately and softly creep directly behind you back to camp – their feathery faces silently giggling to themselves all the way. Cheeky buggers!
The ambushes came in waves throughout the night. The enemy choosing to wear us down via sleep deprivation. Through a combo of squalking to keep us awake, and, should any of us make the silly mistake of dropping off, nipping under the tent shell to peck us sharply on the heads through the mesh! Now you’d think it wouldn’t get much more brazen than that.
But Seriously, many a time I awoke to find a big beady eyed beaker tucked under the outer sheet starring me down with suspicion – cm’s from my face as i slept. Creepy! What did he want?? Why me?? This bird’s a psycho.
I tied my metal mug to our boot laces and both pairs back to my rucksack. A rudimentary, but effective Kea burglar alarm. And shockingly enough, not a few mins later, but “tinkle tinkle” … Sitting bolt upright I was just in time to see one of Cookie’s boots being dragged off outside from under the top sheet, boot lace pulled tort, rucksack clip squeaking and straining. And what was obviously one of the enemy outside putting his full effort into liberating this shoe off into the darkness. Kind of impressive in a way, but also shocking the strength of this Alpine Parrot. What was he thinking? His feet were way too small for these boots. Did he want to eat them? Whatever the reason, it seemed a life or death mission for this little fella. He had to have this boot, no matter the cost. Stunned, i retrieved the footwear. And satisfied i’d seen off the assailant, went back to bed.
This cycle of torment went on all night. The little shits :)
And this wasn’t the half of it… Whilst carefully diverting our attention, another crack team of sharp faced sadists were hard at work on their main mission. The extent of which was yet to be revealed until daylight…