Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Unusual Petrels

Hi all

A couple of petrel species spotted this week that we do not very often see in Kaikoura. Alastair spotted a cooks petrel and a mottled petrel on Tuesday the 1st of December.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Awesome White Morph Shots

Hi All

On the 25th Al also got some good shots of a very inquisitive White Morph.

Was seen all day Wednesday



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Unusual Mottled White chin

Hi All

On todays Albatross tour (Wednesday the 25th November) Alastair sighted a white chinned petrel with unusual motteling in its plumage. We have never seen a variant with these markings?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday 8th November Great birding day!

Hi All

Gary had a bumper day on Sunday especially on the 9.00am Albatross Encounter tour. He (and four passengers) spotted an antarctic fulmar which is a great spot this time of year, and then on the same tour a yellow nosed albatross (Indian Ocean variety) which is a very unusual visitor to our shores. We only ever seen yellow nosed albatross on rare occasions so a very cool rarity.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oil on seabirds

Alastair took these photos today of a Cape Petrel, Northern Royal Albatross and Salvins Albatross all with what appears to be oil stains on them. Its not very common to see here in Kaikoura and his guess is its the result of a fishing vessel clearing oil from its bilges whilst the birds were close around it.

Not a good thing to see....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Latest news at Albatross Encounter

Albatross Encounter Update August 2009


Welcome to the Ocean Wings update for the month of August 2009.

This month we had some great weather, particularly when we compare with the same month in 2008. In regards sightings for the month we had our regulars as well as Antarctic fulmar, white morph (southern giant petrel), but unfortunately no sightings of the elusive grey petrel. We are not seeing so many black-browed albatross, but the Westland petrel and Salvin's albatross are becoming more regular and toward the end of August we of course see large numbers of our wonderful Hutton's shearwaters. For a look at what we saw this month go to our sightings page.

Well August is Bristish Bird Fair month and once again we sent Gary Melville (one of our skippers) and Jo Thompson (Marketing and Promotions) to attend this years event. This year the Fair was one of the most successful with a record attendance and Gary and Jo were kept busy throughout the 3 days. We have some photos taken during the Fair.

With the record numbers attending the Fair this year, the auction stand was well supported and raised nearly £10,000 for the Saving Endangered Species programme. Albatross Encounter once again donated an albatross print on canvas taken by General Manager and photographer, Dennis Buurman, to this very worthwhile cause.

Another project Albatross Encounter has been involved with is the project to develop a Spanish-language educational resource about seabirds and bycatch for fishing communities and fishing schools that will be appropriate to use in many South American countries. This project has been undertaken by the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust and Pro Delphinus and we are very pleased to be associated with this project as a sponsor. It is very important that all fishing communities that operate in the Southern Ocean, realise the impirtance of employing mitigation methods to prevent the accidental catching of seabirds.

Well lets hope we have continued good operating conditions for pelagic trips in Kaikoura..........till next time

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Birds at the moment


I thought i would write breifly on what birds of note we have spotted lately on our Albatross Encounter tours ( We have seen our usual plethera of albatross species (the record is still 10 in one day) but 2 days ago we saw an Antarctic Fulmar which was only the third we have seen this year, this is something of a concern as the numbers of the Antarctic fulmars are well down on previous years.

On a more positive note we have seen quite a few white morphs of the southern giant petrel which is always a welcome visitor.

Albatross Encounter on Twitter!

Hi All

You can now follow daily (or every few days depending on whats occuring!) tweets from our twitter feed.

If this seems like a foriegn language to you twitter is a great way to get regular updates or to chat about what you have seen lately or if you are planning any trips to Kaikoura let us know.

Many thanks


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

All Day Pelagic tour Cancelled 25th July 2009

The all day pelagic tour scheduled for Saturday 25th July 2009 has been cancelled. If you need further information contact Albatross Encounter on 0800 733 365.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Second Winter Full Day Pelagic Sat 25th July

Hi All

After the success of the all day pelagic tour earlier this winter we are putting on a second.

So on Saturday the 25th of July (with Sunday as a reserve) we will be operating an all day tour with special dispensation from the MSA to travel to around 20 NM offshore.

As you can see from previous blogs, at this distance offshore there are rarer bird species to be seen.

If you like more information (or you would like to book)
or call: 03 319 6777



Monday, June 1, 2009

More Photographs from 30th May tour

Hi all

Here are some more photographs from the all day pelagic tour on the 30th May, as sent in by Peter and Duncan including two of the suspected black bellied storm petrel. The contributions are much appreciated.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

All Day Pelagic Tour 30th May 2009

Gary and a team of keen birders headed out off-shore on Saturday morning, further than we usually go on an Albatross Encounter tour. they were looking for some more unusual visitors to the area and they were not dissapointed, a black-bellied storm petrel was sighted, a first for us here in Kaikoura.

The complete list of species are as follows:

6 - northern royal albatross
6 - southern royal albatross
6 - Gibson's wandering albatross
2 - antipodean albatross
4 - black-browed albatross
10 - New Zealand white-capped albatross
20 - Buller's albatross (northern)
4 - Buller's albatross (southern)
17 - northern giant petrel
5 - westland petrel
3 - white chinne petrel
1 - grey faced petrel
80 - cape pigeon
2 - common diving petrel
20 - Hutton's shearwater
6 - sooty shearwater
1 - short tailed shearwater
10 - white fronted tern
10 - black fronted tern
25 - black-backed gull
2 - black billed gull
30 - red-billed gull
30 - spotted shag
1 - black-bellied storm petrel

I will add some photos when they are downloaded from the camera.



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shark Clip in Wandering Albatross

Hi All

Alastair took some distressing photographs yesterday which were a poignant reminder of the ongoing plight of these magnificant birds. You can clearly see in the photographs the SharkClip which are used in long-line fisheries to attach the trace and hook to the longline.

However, the bird does look healthy and was feeding at the back of the Albatross Encounter vessel.

We will keep you updated if we see the same bird during the next few days.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Record Tour


We had a very good Albatross Encounter on Friday the 20th of Feb. It was a miserable day with very heavy rain in the morning. But that didnt stop the passengers on the 9.0am Albatross Encounter tour seeing a record number of albatross species.

One of the passengers was Brent Stephenson and here is an exerpt from his write-up of the tour:

"Did Oceanwings yesterday morning (20 Feb) with 10 species of albatross - equalled their record of 11 years. Pretty happy with that! Both Royals, Antipodean & Gibson's, both Buller's, black-browed, Campbell, Salvin's and white-capped. We were just waiting for a Chatham to fly past! Also sooty and short-tailed shear, flesh-footed, Buller's and Hutton's shear, Westland and white-chinned petrel, plus northern GP and Cape petrel so a pretty awesome line up! Literally 1000s of Hutton's feeding around the rocks just of the peninsula was a real spectacle with large numbers of white-fronted terns and at least 4-5 Arcitc skua making fantastic chases."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chatham Island Albatross

The Oceanwings tour had a rare visitor today. Alastair saw a Chatham Island albatross (see photos) also, see the comparison with a Salvins albatross, the Chatham Island has a distinctive yellow bill and grey head. This visitor is only seen on a few occasions each year here in Kaikoura so is always nice to see.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Penguin ID

The ID of the Penguin is confirmed as a juvenile Fjordland crested penguin. (Many thanks to Peter Langlands for the ID).

Crested Penguin Found in Yard

Hi all

These are some pictures Alastair took of a moulting crested penguin found just north of the Kaikoura township. DOC have the penguin now and hopefully it is on the road to recovery?

ps. ID is not 100% although some have suggested Fjordland Crested. We had an FCP found on a beach here in Kaikoura back in 2008 (see earlier blog).