Thursday, 14 March 2013

Three Kings 2013

Well just wanted to post this blog as well, as I'm sitting in a Hotel in Auckland about to hit the bed, before a very early start in the morning.  Flying to Cairns to jump on the MV Caledonian Sky for six weeks through Indonesia, Borneo, Philippines, and on up to Japan.  Should be an awesome time with hopefully a lot of good birds!

Anyway, we had our annual Three Kings trip again, this was the sixth trip we have done, and the second in a row not to actually get to the Three Kings.  This time not directly weather related, but the warmer water where we wanted to be was out well to the east and north of the islands, so we focussed on that instead.

It wasn't a complete blinder of a trip like we had anticipated (or at least we had built ourselves up to!) but was still a fantastic trip.  The bird of the trip was undoubtedly a Indian yellow-nosed albatross we found on the third day, and athough a pretty scruffy individual, was surely the star of the show.  This was a new bird for me for NZ, and was for most on the boat, bringing my NZ list to 260.  Other good birds were good numbers of black-winged petrels, some good very close white-naped petrels, two Kermadec petrels, but this year no Gould's or collared petrels.  Skuas didn't disappoint though, with three long-tailed hanging around for a while, a nice close pass by a Pomarine, and a South Polar as well.

So an excellent trip, with a lot of laughs as usual, and some quality fish caught.  A single strike by a marlin unfortunately didn't hook up.  Always next year!

Grey-faced petrel caught in the act of polluting the sea

Indian yellow-nosed albatross, my first one for NZ

Coming in to land

White-naped petrel coming past for a close look

Late immature Campbell albatross

Scruffy the yellow-nosed albatross and the Campbell albatross for a size comparison

NZ wandering albatross

Grumpy old white-capped albatross coming in to land

Pomarine skua taking a close look

NZ wandering albatross

White-capped albatross having a go at a Buller's alb

Dancing Wilson's storm-petrel

White-naped petrel sweeping past the boat

Black-winged petrel banking hard

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