New Zealand, Kaikoura Pelagic and Arthurs Pass 5/11/11

Once again joining up with Brent and his Wrybill Tour Group, we set off on our morning Kaikoura pelagic trip. This trip is world famous as the close proximity of the continental shelf means you barely have to travel far before seeing seabirds.

We saw 5 species of albatross, including Gibson's Wandering, Southern and Northern Royal, Salvin's and White-capped. Viewing Wandering Albatross at point blank range, as they fed on the chum trail, was spectacular. Petrels were everywhere, with large numbers of Northern Giant and at least one Southern Giant Petrel. Westland Petrel, Hutton's Sheawater and Antarctic Fulmar were also new for our trip. We also had a brief encounter with Hector's Dolphin.

  Species seen on the Pelagic
        White-capped Albatross
Salvin's Albatross
Southern Royal Albatross
Northern Royal Albatross
Gibson's Albatross
Antarctic Giant-Petrel
Hall's Giant-Petrel
Southern Fulmar
Cape Petrel
White-chinned Petrel
Westland Petrel
Buller's Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Hutton's Shearwater
Pied Cormorant
Red-billed Gull
Kelp Gull
White-fronted Tern
Parasitic Jaeger

It was hard to drag ourselves away from Kaikoura as we had a long drive to Arthurs Pass to do this afternoon. On our arrival at Arthurs Pass it was snowing. Here we saw our first Keas before we pressed on to Jacksons Retreat were we stopped for the night. Here we were met by our first Western Weka.