Anyway, this is what I posted to the BirdingNZ.net forum when I got back from the trip. I'd just like to reiterate my thanks to Jo and Alex Thompson for their awesome hospitality having us stay with them, and to Encounter Kaikoura who do an awesome job of getting people out on the water to see these incredible birds and marine mammals.
"Just heading home from a great 9 days in the South Island, with most time spent in Kaikoura. In all I managed to get out on six Albatross Encounter trips during this time. Good numbers of the usual suspects with the most common albatross being NZ wandering (all probably Gibson’s with no classic Antipodean seen) and Salvin’s. Over the six tours we did have a single Buller’s alb and latterly several black-browed, with white-capped seen in small numbers and one or two Southern Royals on most trips. Lots of Northern giant petrels, but no Southerns, Westland petrels were common, but only one or two white-chinned petrels per trip, and lots of Cape petrels of course. Sooty shearwaters put in an appearance in big numbers last week, obviously being held up after one of the southerlies, and then small numbers on most trips with ones and twos of short-tailed shearwaters on most trips also. Yesterday (Tues 19 Oct) we had the first Buller’s shearwater during my stint down there, and an ANTARCTIC FULMAR which made a brief pass of the boat before disappearing.
Today (Wed 20 Oct) we had 50+ fairy prions after the southerly last night, with no different prions amongst them – I checked a lot of them and took a lot of photos too, but yet to check those. The star of today however, was a GREY-BACKED STORM-PETREL which came in whilst we were pretty close in and fed in the slick for more than ½ and hour, at times being within 5m of the boat. Excellent views of this great little bird.
A big thanks to Dennis and Lynette at Albatross Encounter, and Jo and Alex for their hospitality. Thanks heaps guys!"
So here are some of the top photos, obviously not all taken on a boat, and surprise surprise, not all of birds. I have posted a full album with 29 images onto my Facebook page as well...
|New Zealand albatross (D. antipodensis) coming in
|Dusky dolphins breaking the surface
|Northern giant petrels showing each other what they are made of
|Probably one of my favourite images from the trip, a male peacock struts his stuff
|The South Island endemic brown creeper comes in for a look
|Kaikoura really is a spectacular place
|This grey-backed storm-petrel put on an awesome show being around the boat for at least half an hour