It was a bit of a rough night until we entered more sheltered waters in the ley of Enderby Island. It was 19th November & I was excited about the days programme: a full day on Enderby Island! I elected to do the full circumnavigation of the island on foot & it was a brilliant day!
Our landing & our welcoming committee!
Shirley - now behave!
Male Hooker's Sea Lion protecting his patch.
Two males sparing for beach territory.
The one on the left proved to be the winner.
The pale one is a female who has arrived early
on the beach.
I landed in Sandy Bay with attendant Hooker’s Sea Lions. Most were males, staking out territory & waiting for the females to arrive, which will happen over the coming weeks. There were a couple of females on the beach which had arrived slightly early.
Peter Harrison talking about the day
before we set off.
Light- mantled Sooty Albatross
breed on these cliffs.
nesting in small scattered colonies
around the islands.
at the top of the cliffs!
Yellow- eyed Penguin
on the upland areas.
nesting species, very different from its
I walked the boardwalk to the Western Cliffs & then walked clockwise around the island. It was very open & windswept with all four seasons sometimes in one hour! Everything from sunshine to rain & even hail. Exhilarating stuff!
Best birds included:
2 Auckland Island Flightless Teal; 15+ Yellow eyed Penguin; 12 Southern Royal Albatross; 5 Light mantled Sooty Albatross; 40+ Northern Giant Petrel; 50+ Auckland Island Shag; 7 Auckland Island Banded Dotterel; Auckland Island Snipe; 8 Ruddy Turnstone; 5 Antarctic Tern; 60 Brown Skua; 30+ Red crowned Parakeet; 7 Auckland Island Tomtit; Auckland Island Pipit were very common & 80+ Common Redpoll.
We had a re-arrangement of the schedule as a lady had fallen on the ship during the previous nights rough seas & it appears she had broken her hip. So we stayed in sheltered waters.
Expedition staff coming back from the evacuation.
Please note, I decided not to take any photos
of this event.
I stayed in bed on the morning of 20th November. We stayed in place waiting for the helicopter to arrive & it duly did although a little later than anticipated, around 1pm.
Selina walking through the Rata Forest
on the way to the hut.
it is sheltered & wet in the forest.
This young Bellbird came to investigate me!
The coast watchers hut
It must have been a tough life here.
Due to oncoming severe weather we stayed in the shelter of the island & made another landing to where coast watchers lived during World War Two. Several of these men became prominent New Zealand naturalists in later years. It must have been quite a tough life though.
As one climbs higher, the forest dwindles away
into established heath type vegetation.
The scenery was amazing!
My temporary home in the distance!
Just to prove I was in this amazing landscape!
We climbed to the top of the hill & enjoyed fantastic views over this amazing sub antarctic landscape.
Due to the bad weather, we stayed at anchor in a sheltered bay & only set sail heading south down the main island during the night.
White capped Albatross
The best I could do in the circumstances!
I was on deck early on the 21st November. It was quite rough, with lots of spray but not too bad. There were a lot of White capped Albatrosses about & I managed to find a Sub Antarctic Shearwater. Had fairly good views through the binoculars & managed a couple of record shots.
Notice the silvery under wing.
Notice the white scapular markings
Perhaps a new species for science!
in there tens of thousands.
waiting to go to their breeding grounds at night.
out of the way at the last minute.
As we entered Carnley Harbour (which is a huge entrance to a sunken caldera) I spotted a diving petrel. The very striking white under wing & white scapular markings confirmed it as the so called South Georgia Diving Petrel. I say this because current research will almost certainly prove this to be a new species for science & called Sub Antarctic Diving Petrel!
We then made a landing in Tagua Bay & walked through the rata forest to another lookout with a grand vista.
Early afternoon we headed south into the ocean. The weather was bad, but according to the forecast should improve! It is a long sea haul of 360 nautical miles to Macquerie Island our next amazing destination.
I tried to get photos, but it was impossible to be outside for safety reasons! I joined the other birders on the bridge but very quickly that number became reduced! It was a time for battening downs the hatches & for many, taking to ones bed. I remained on the bridge for the next six hours. It was exhausting, twisting & turning with the huge waves & sideways swells. But I stuck it out & was rewarded with a truly fantastic days birding.
Best birds included:
5 Gibson’s Wandering Albatross; Antipedian Wandering Albatross; 18 Wandering Albatross; 13 Southern Royal Albatross; Campbell Albatross; Grey Headed Albatross; 250 White Capped Albatross; 10 Light Mantled Sooty Albatross; 15+ Northern Giant Petrel; 15 Cape Petrel; 200+ Antarctic Prion; 10 Fairy Prion; 14 Mottled Petrel; 450+ White Headed Petrel; 10 White Chinned Petrel; 3,000++ Sooty Shearwater; 28 Subantarctic Little Shearwater; Grey backed Storm Petrel; 45+ Black bellied Storm Petrel; 23 South Georgian Diving ( Sub-antarctic) Petrel; 25 Diving petrel sp; 10 Auckland Island Shag & 2 Antarctic Tern.
It was a terrific days sea birding, but I had to leave the bridge in fading light & even worse sea conditions. It was bed time for me at 9 pm!