It is 14th April & I am feeling a little sluggish! The previous evening turned into a bit of a session & that combined with large seas meant a rather fitful night’s sleep.
Up on deck sea-birding revealed 20+ Tahiti Petrels & several Brown Boobies. A Greater Frigatebird was also noted.
After lunch is got pretty slow, we slowly headed out into deeper water & left many birds behind. A couple more Brown Boobies were seen, along with a Black-winged Petrel & a lone Greater Frigatebird. And that was about it!
The hard core!
The 15th was not much better. The weather was choppy & made viewing quite difficult, but there wasn’t a lot to see, at first! 5 Tahiti Petrels & a Kermedec Petrel kept us on our toes and very early on we were still in range for Gould’s Petrels, but these soon dried up. A Collared Petrel shot by, but I failed to get a photo.
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters were still around as well as 3 Short-tailed Shearwaters.
Wilson's Storm Petrel
But it was the Storm Petrels we were interested in & after 3 Wilson’s we finally saw Polynesian Storm Petrel! Wow, what a bird! By the end of the day we had seen four individuals, but all were difficult to view. Delighted to capture one on the camera!
3 White-tailed Tropicbirds were seen as were at least 10 Red-footed Boobies & two proper Masked Boobies (not the Tasman’s seen earlier in the trip).
That was about it! A few Sooty Terns all at great distance & four Brown Noodies were seen, but it was a long afternoon look out over the ocean!
Morning of the 16th was lovely. The sea had calmed down in the night & it was a beautiful morning, but once again almost bird less! A very distant Band-rumped type Storm Petrel was seen. There are no populations of this species for thousands of miles! But later in the morning we saw a Wilson’s Storm Petrel flying with a slightly larger bird & it could be a new species for science! This individual was slightly larger than Wilson’s with longer wings & a lighter diagonal bar on the upper surface of the wing.
Red-footed Boobies kept us entertained as they caught flying fish from almost under the bow of the ship!
White-tailed Tropicbirds were also seen, but little else of interest.
We anchored off Rennell Island & watched a magnificent sunset.