We all headed to the ferry terminal early, boarding and enjoying the sunshine as we cruised out of Halfmoon Bay. Not too far out we had a glimpse of Fiordland crested penguin, and then the first sooty shearwaters as we got into open water. We only had a few white-capped albatross on the crossing, and nothing like the day before. A few Foveaux shags, a couple of common diving petrels, and then two Cook’s petrels. As we got close to Bluff a couple of Buller’s albatross made passes.
WE docked in Bluff, grabbed bags, repacked the van and off we headed. A couple of quick stops yielded a lot of waterfowl, but no chestnut-breasted shelducks. Oh well! Coffee, fuel and onwards, we needed to put a few kilometres behind us, today is a big travel day. We grabbed some lunch late morning, and then ate it at a bay, overlooking the shoreline. Hoping for an ever more elusive penguin. And bingo – contrary to the advice of a very ‘helpful’ tourist – there was a penguin coming ashore in the middle of the day. It came ashore and stood there preening for about fifteen minutes, giving us all a great view, before it decided to head on up the beach and into the shrubbery. What a great bird!
We decided that was about as good as it got, and slowly made our way north towards Dunedin, then a quick café stop on the coast, before cruising to a spot to see Otago shag. We had awesome views of the late-breeding stage of this bird, with large almost fledged juveniles. There were a few spotted shags around as well, and some nice close white-fronted terns also. Lots of things going on to take photos of, so we spent a bit of time just enjoying the spectacle. Not a bad day with six species of shags in one day!
We headed on, checked in to the accommodation, and then a great dinner in town. An early night, for tomorrow is the big day…
Day total – Seen = 51 inc 1 heard (dunnock); new for the trip = 1; total for the trip to date = 153
Bird of the day – Yellow-eyed penguin x8
|Star of the day...