Thursday 19 December 2013

Way too long...

Well it really has been way to long since my last post!  This year has been a pretty crazy year, way too much time away, but a lot of awesome stuff happening none the less!

This year has seen some pretty fantastic adventures in far off lands, Borneo and Indonesia, Russian Far East, Alaska (oh how I love Alaska), The Kimberley, and now my greatest adventure of the year looms…

It's also been a busy year on other fronts, the completion of our awesome new house (which I really don't want to leave), the publication of my first book - Birds of New Zealand: A Photographic guide - and its recently released iPhone App, and a pretty outstanding year for Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ, with a busier than ever summer last year, and an even busier summer this year.  The book has had just amazing reviews, and sales seem to be ticking along really well also.  That has got to be good!

Yet, somehow it almost feels like I am leaving the best till last…  Tomorrow is the start of what can only be described as filling the last gaping hole in my New Zealand birding experience!  Something I have (rather funnily) dreamt of for a long long time.  I say funnily, because I've been to the Southern Ocean before, heck I've been to Antarctica 10+ times, I've seen sub-antarctic islands and smelt the elephant seal poop…but I have never been to the New Zealand sub-antarctic!  Tomorrow, is not only my birthday (ah yes, 26 years old), but I'm also joining MV Orion in Auckland and heading for the New Zealand sub-antarctic for almost the next month.  The first trip passes through all of the New Zealand islands and Macquarie, with the second trip doing some of the islands and parts of the South Island.  And I cannot wait!

Armed with a new Canon 1Dx body, my trusty 400mm DO lens and the rest of my 20kg kit I can't wait to set foot on some of the legendary islands, sharing it with my fellow voyagers and colleagues, and hopefully, just hopefully filling the last few gaps in my New Zealand birding checklist.  By my reckoning there are something like 16 new bird species for my New Zealand list over the next two weeks, which should put me at the top of the NZ birders totals, and perhaps even allow me to beat my own 2006 record of 206 species of birds in NZ in a single year.  We will see.

But even more than that, it is a chance to see a part of the World I have been dying to see for a long time.  Strange, so close, and yet so far.

A photo by my good friend Gary Krosin, taken just after I managed to find a rainbow pitta for all the birders in the group, whilst on a post-extension with Zegrahm Expeditions in the Kimberley.  I suspect there will probably be a little bit of fist pumping on these next trips as well!


  1. Um, if they're really looking at a rainbow pitta, why are they all looking UP? I think what you saw was a rainbow lorikeet. Easy mistake, mate; don't worry about it.

    1. Pepper, pittas have wings too…and this little beauty was perched about 3m up and gave an awesome show!