Saturday 15 February 2020

Day twelve - alberts

A cloudy and breezy morning as we looked out to sea from the end of the Peninsula.  A few NZ fur seals were around, and we found some ruddy turnstones, banded dotterels and a few variable and South Island oystercatcher to enjoy.  We headed around to another spot and found little pied and pied cormorants, and found a (VERY) distant yellow-eyed penguin.  It was up on the rocks and apparently had come ashore to start moulting.  It was clearly an adult, but a long long way off, so definitely a ‘Better Views Desired’ bird!
We headed to South Bay and boarded our boat with skipper Gazza.  We headed around to try and spot the penguin, but couldn’t find it, so off out to sea we went.  It wasn’t long and we had a few Cape petrels and Northern giant petrels following us.  We headed out to one of the spots and hauled up and put the chum in the water.  Within seconds there were a couple of NZ wandering albatross on the water at the back of the boat, several North giant petrels, Cape petrels, and then a Westland petrel was spotted on the water also.  There was a good stiff breeze blowing and in the end we had about 7-8 NZ wandering albatross, at least two Southern Royal albatross, and a few Salvin’s albatross also.  Several more Westland petrels came in for a look, and then a single white-chinned petrel.  Several Buller’s shearwaters made passes, as did a few sooty shearwaters.
We decided to move to a different spot, and put the chum out again.  This time much the same, but we did get a single flesh-footed shearwater, and a single Northern Royal albatross which circled the boat several times!  Perfect!
We had great looks at everything, and even some Hutton’s shearwaters passing by were coming close enough to get a good look.  We decided to head back in, passing Barney’s Rock where there were huge numbers of kelp and red-billed gulls, a few spotted shags, and some lazy fur seals.  Cutting back along the coast it was a little bumpy, but not too bad.
Back in port we grabbed lunch, and then checked in for our afternoon activities.  Some of us opted for dusky dolphin watching, whilst others went for another go at albatross.  The afternoon was a good one with lots of nice dusky dolphin action and some more good bird action.  Nothing new, but always worth a second go!  A lovely dinner and then a quick drive for little owl.  And boom!  Better than last night, no drizzle and three little owls seen, so happy campers heading to bed!
Day total – Seen = 44; new for the trip = 9; total for the trip to date = 134
Served on a platter

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