Saturday, September 10, 2011

'course you don't get bloody wafers with it!

Sandra and I were lucky enough to go out on a pelagic trip off the famous Kaikoura Peninsula, on the east coast of the South Island north of Christchurch. There, no more than a few kilometres offshore, the Kaikoura canyon drops down to over 1,000m deep The steep shelf results in an nutrient rich upwelling of cold antarctic water. The area is mostly known as a whale watching site, but where the whales feed, so do the fish and the seabirds. Albatross Encounters has been operating pelagic trips for many years now, and at times see upwards of 12 albatross species in one trip, more than anywhere else on earth!

We went out for only 2.5 hours this weekend, and were treated to some amazing views of these magical ocean wanderers.

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophrys)

Gibson's Albatross (Diomedea gibsoni)

And now for something completely different...

Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)

Salvin's Albatross (Thalassarche salvini)

White-capped Albatross (Thalassarche steadi)

Northern Giant Petrel (Macronectes halli)

Hutton's Shearwater (Puffinus huttoni)

Cape Petrel (Daption capense)

Spotted Shags (Phalacrocorax punctatus)

New Zealand Fur Seals


  1. As always, great photos Dave. I love that 2nd Salvin's Albatross photo. Those eyes are absolutely sinister, and it's a beautiful bird. Cute seal pup.

    Have you come across any Rough-faced Shags? Voted funniest bird name by a blog I came across, understandably so.

  2. Ah, the Rough-faced Shag, aka King Shag. No, never seen that one. They are quite rare, and only breed in the Marlborough Sounds at the north tip of the South Island. I'm not to familiar with that area, and it is tough to get into without your own boat or a bit of $$. The inter-island ferry passes close to the colony, but I didn't see any. I was looking though!