Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Birding Down Under: Bounty Islands

It was yet another topsy turvy nights sleep! The southern ocean is certainly living up to its reputation! Up at dawn on 28th November to look through my porthole & find that I was actually below the water line! Waves were curling around six to eight feet above my head! I hope the glass is strong! I headed for the bridge, as it was too dangerous to be outside. In the process I forgot my camera – a big mistake! 

Bounty Islands

As we reached the Bounty Islands thousands & thousands of seabirds were in view. It really was an amazing spectacle with around 30,000 Salvin’s Albatross. I certainly have never seen anything like this before!

Salvin's Albatross

Erect Crested Penguin

There were also around 4,000 Erect Crested Penguins on the cliffs. And of course 65 of the endemic Bounty Island Shag. These islands are barely islands at all, more like rocks just sticking up out of the ocean. With the weather being what it was, launching the zodiacs would have been pure suicide, so we had to view this amazing spectacle from a distance.

I spent from 10am until 6pm on deck looking for seabirds. It was slow, but steady & keeping ones balance was quite hard & we had yet another accident among the passengers. This is getting to be a bit of an epidemic!

Salvin's Albatross

White Capped Albatross

Grey-faced Petrel

A recent split from Great-winged Petrel

White-headed Petrel

Cape Petrel

Best birds were:

Gibson’s Wandering Albatross; 7 Southern Royal Albatross; Northern Royal Albatross; Grey Headed Albatross; 500+ Salvin’s Albatross (afternoon totals only); White Capped Albatross; 12 Northern Giant Petrel; Southern Giant Petrel; 3,000+ Cape Petrel; 14 Mottled Petrel; 24 Grey Faced Petrel; 4 White Headed Petrel; 18 Soft Plumaged Petrel; 120+ White Chinned Petrel; 400+ Sooty Shearwater; Sub Antarctic Shearwater; 4 Grey Backed Storm Petrel; White Faced Storm Petrel; 13 Black Bellied Storm Petrel & 25 Kelp Gull.

When you write the full list out it looks impressive, but it really was a lot of effort!

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