Monday 26 August 2019

The rarest penguin in the world - Yellow Eyed Penguin

Along with the Galapagos Penguin, the Yellow Eyed Penguin, which is a New Zealand endemic, is the rarest penguin in the world, with less than 4000 individuals.

Not far from Dunedin on the south island is the Otago Penninsula. Here you can visit the Royal Albatross Centre, and take an escorted trip to a private reserve/beach to see the penguins, and New Zealand Sea Lion; another New Zealand endemic. 

Sunday 11 August 2019

Albatrosses and other sea birds, Kiakoura, New Zealand

One of the added benefits of a whale watching trip is the opportunities it provides to see sea birds. Kiakoura is particularly good as there's a good chance to see Albatrosses.
 Shy Mollymawk 
Shy Mollymawk is a "small" albatross, of which there are numerous forms/subspecies
 Giant Southern Petrel - buzzard sized Petrel- scary!

 Cape Pigeon

  Royal Albatross

 Royal Albatross

 Royal Albatross

 A heavily crossed - Wandering Albatross

 Fairy Prion

 Wandering Albatross

 Shy Mollymawk really are smart birds

We wrapped the trip up with hundreds of Dusky Dolphins accompanying the boat as we headed back to shore.

Kiakoura - New Zealand whale watching

I do love a  it of whale watching. Seeing such huge and magnificent creatures up close in the natural habitat is awesome. Add to that the opportunity to see Albatrosses and other sea birds, makes a trip to Kiakoura, a must for all wildlife enthusiasts and birders, when visiting New Zealand. Kiakoura is on the east coast of the South Island, around 3 hours by car from Christchurch. 

We were booked on the afternoon boat allowing us plenty of time to get there without too much of a rush. In hindsight, I would have stayed in Kiakoura and repeated the trip the following morning as we only actually had around 2 hours out at sea where we could get out on deck and enjoy the whales and the birds.

We've  been lucky to have been whale watching previously and seen Blue, Fin, Humpback and Orcas.  Kiakoura offered the opportunity to see our first ever Sperm Whales. We saw at least three individuals up close and personal. It's hard to comprehend just how big these creatures are with just a small part of their body's viewable above water, but it was interesting to hear the guide say that they once found a fully grown Great White Shark, fully intact, inside a Sperm whale's stomach!