Arrived off Norfolk Island early on 10th April. This is part of Australia, although a long, long way from the mainland. A former penal colony that has been settled by colonist for a very long time.
Dawn on the 10th April.
Keeping out of the rain!
I awoke on 10th April to a grey dawn, sprinkled with drizzle! Not exactly the welcome to Norfolk Island I had imagined! We were anchored just off Kingston in the south of the island, a difficult swell was running, which made the zodiac landing a little tricky, passing through a rather small hole in the reef!
Once ashore, we drove to the Palm Glen section of the Norfolk Island National Park. Our arrival was greeted with more overcast skies & the light was very dim indeed for taking photographs. Birds were plentiful & within an hour the three endemic species were seen:
Norfolk Island Parakeet, yes it is that black dot!
Norfolk Island Gerygone
Other great birds included Pacific Emerald Dove & Pacific Robin.
Norfolk Island Golden Whistler -
surely a good split?
The local race of the Golden Whistler must surely soon be elevated to full species status, with the male & female both sharing the rather drab plumage.
The local race of Sacred Kingfisher
We then drove to the extreme north-west of the island, past Anson Bay to an area where Masked (Tasman) Boobies & Red-tailed Tropicbirds were nesting on the cliff top.
Double banded Plover
The birders on the ship.
Our final birding was around the bay at Kingston where we saw 19 Double-banded Plovers on the beach (newly arrived migrants from New Zealand).
Spirit of Enderby.
Late afternoon was spent travelling north away from Norfolk Island.
Many Black-winged Petrels were also noted.
The 11th April was another day at sea. The feature of the day were the fast flying flocks of Short-tailed Shearwaters passing north, over 20,000 were seen! Large numbers of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters were also seen.
12 Tahiti Petrels were noted, as were 20+ Gould’s Petrels and at least 10 Black-winged Petrels.
One thing of note was the 2 White-necked Petrels seen. Which after looking at my photographs may indeed be Vanuatu Petrels? Check out the shape of the collar & the under-wing pattern!
Magnificent Petrel & Wedge-tailed Shearwater
A fish oil slick produced a few petrels including at least one Magnificent Petrel! This was a bit of a bonus this far south.
Short-finned Pilot Whales
In the afternoon we picked up speed in an attempt to out run the fast approaching Typhoon Solo. Hatches were battened down & we went for it! The night was a little rough but nothing too serious & we arrived off New Caledonia in the early hours of the morning.