Up and off after breakfast. We did a little stop to check some farmland for Cirl bunting, no luck but a cornucopia of European birds, with skylark, chaffinch, yellowhammer, etc all putting in an appearance. We then headed down and boarded our boat for the morning with Gazza Melville and Albatross Encounter. The weather looked a little choppy out there, but not a lot of swell and the winds were not too bad, so off we went. Of course within a few minutes we had a couple of Northern giant petrels following us, and the game was on.
At our first stop the Northern giant petrels didn’t take long to land and start to squabble as the NZ wandering also came in. The odd Hutton’s shearwater also passed. Cape petrels slid in between the bigger birds, and then the first of a handful of Westland petrels turned up. The odd Salvin’s and white-capped albatross came in too, and before long we had a nice little flock at the back of the boat.
We decided to move out a little deeper, and many of the first birds followed us out, with a sooty shearwater doing a quick flyby as we steamed. Once we stopped we had a good number of birds, mostly the same, until shortly after a Southern Royal and then a Northern Royal albatross came in. White-chinned petrels also came in, along with Westland petrels, giving them a chance to be seen together. A single grey-faced petrel did a brief fly-by, as did a Hutton’s shearwater, coming a lot closer but then heading off. We did one more different stop, but nothing new or different, and it was time to head back. A pretty great morning, with some nice looks at things, and a couple of new birds for the trip. Always nice to get more albatross, and stunning close views.
Back on land we grabbed lunches and whilst some braved the frigid waters and had amazing interactions whilst swimming with dusky dolphins, others caught up on rest, took a walk, etc. A nice afternoon for everyone and then a lovely Thai meal, before an early night.
Day total – Seen = 37 inc 1 heard, (grey gerygone, bellbird, dunnock); new for the trip = 5; total for the trip to date = 140
|Some of the gang looking apprehensive...
|Enjoying the birds