Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Zealand Birders Descend on Kaikoura

Well we are approaching the Queens Birthday weekend, when the New Zealand Ornithological Society are holding their annual conference in Kaikoura. Many of the conference delegates will be heading out on pelagic tours over the Sunday and Monday and we are hoping they will have a great opportunity to see many of our frequent pelagic visitors and hopefully some rare visitors :)

Hope to see you all this weekend, and we will be giving you a full update of how the weekend went and what species were seen.....

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fussy female (Gibson)

Over the last few weeks we have spotted a regular visitor to Kaikoura, a 13 year old female Gibson’s Albatross who was sighted on 10 different occasions; she is easily identified by the orange band around her right leg, sporting the number 512. She is the most frequently sighted banded albatross here in Kaikoura and is from the Mt Dick colony on Adam’s Island in the Auckland Island group, over 580 nautical miles south of Kaikoura.

Unfortunately, although she has been seen displaying with a number of different males, none of her potential suitors have been up to to scratch and to date she is still officially single. However, we are not concerned, as a bird of her beauty can afford to be fussy....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mecca for albatross, beautiful Kaikoura. New Zealand

Hello all,
Welcolme to the first of many updates from the beautiful township of Kaikoura, on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Kaikoura is famous for its whale watching and swimming with dolphins but one of its best kept secrets is its one of the best places in the world to see albatross and very close to the mainland.

Kaikoura is not an albatross colony, rather it is a fantastic place for albatross to come and feed. There is a huge underwater canyon here which is around 1650m deep (about a mile!) and this canyon runs in to just 600m from the shoreline. There are a lot of nutrients brought to the surface, close to land and they produce a highly productive food chain here, making Kaikoura a constant all-you-can-eat buffet for pelagic sea birds, including up to 13 of the worlds albatross species (there is around 24 species of albatross in the world).

One of our more common albatross is the wandering albatross which has an astounding wingspan of over 3.5m (nealy 12 feet!) and is in the Guiness Book of Records as having the largest wingspan of any bird on the planet

In this blog we will updating you on what birds we have been encountering on our daily Albatross Encounter tours and making special note of unusual visitors to the area, and showing the odd photo or video of what we have been up to.

So for now, happy birding, and here is a taste of the majestic albatross here in Kaikoura.