well, the weather has taken a turn for the worst in the past 24hrs, rain & very high winds, temp drop from 25C to 12C but picked up this afternoon. Snow just down the road from us in Dunedin at 500mts. Currently overnight in Oamaru to see the blue penguins this evening coming in from feeding out at sea. Unfortunately all photography banned so no pics frustratingl. They are the worlds smallest penguin, weigh about a kilo. We saw 253 come back to their burrows to feed young and a number of young out side their burrows waiting to be feed, cute but so ungainly on land. Will try to see yellow eyed penguins tomorrow a little further down the coast. Bizarre tonight watching these penguins come ashore to the sound of song thrush and blackbirds.
I do have some more rubbish pics to share from my iTouch though, around the waterfront in Oamaru is an old unused pier/wharf and at about 4.00pm this afternoon it looked like this......
In in the very foreground are a few spotted shags but the black mass at the top of the pier are a few hundred pied and black shags. The spotted shags don't seem to mix with the other two species.
Then when we returned at 19.15pm this evening the pier looked like this........
There must now be a few thousand shags on the pier, if you look carefully halfway up the pier you can see a colour change where the spotted shags, now in their hundreds meet the pied & black shags but still don't mix. I have proper pictures of this on my camera & will post when tech finally works. Such an amazing site to see thousands of 3 diff species of shag in one place, with possibly a fourth species the Stewart Island Shag mixed in, as this area is its northern most breeding point. We fly over to Stewart Island next week to hopefully see Kiwi!
It is so frustrating to be posting such rubbish pictures of these amazing wildlife sight. Final pic today to prove penguins are about...
Yesterday on our drive to Christchurch we stopped for picnic lunch at a river estuary just north of Christchurch, cloudy and very windy but such amazing sights, a few hundred white Fronted terns on the beach, along the estuary a pair of blackfronted or royal spoonbill, bar tailed godwits, variable & South Island oystercatchers and dozens of black & pied shags.
Along the waters edge where the estuary meets the sea were dozens of people on both sides with nets and buckets being harassed by red billed gulls trying to catch the local white bait as they came in on the tide. I got talking to one guy who showed me his catch after 3hrs work, maybe a handful of what looked like "glass noodles" they reminded me of very small elvers, completely transparent. Nothing like whitebait we have, far too small to be worth the troubl. They sell for about 50$NZ a kilo to restaurants at this time of year. Again I have pics on camera but, you know tech issues prevail. Anyway enough now for part 3, watch out for part 4 in a day or so, albatross colony visit coming up.
Lovely updates Tony, shame about the no photography, but you can see why. At least we can see the sign! Enjoy the continued holiday.
Very nice Tony, looks like you need a years extension to your holiday to see all that NZ has to offer in birds and wildlife, plus the stunning scenery ! Not sure you have time in your schedule but if near Christchurch the International Antarctic Centre is worth a visit, really interesting place and they have the little blue and emperor penguins too ! You can even ride in an Hagglund vehicle like the ones they use on expeditions. They call the little blue penguins "Fairy Penguins" in Australia and they do a similar night event to see them returning to their burrows on Phillip Island, Victoria. The road signage in these countries is always a novelty to see ! Enjoy Stewart Island.
Good to hear your news Tony, and yes that was a pier stuffed full of different birds, even with your phone you could see the varying colours. You are having a good journey, look forward to more photos of maybe a Kiwi or two and Albatross would be great to see.
Thanks Hazel, but we only overnights in Christchurch this time but back at end in 3 weeks si will look out the places you mention. I think 7 weeks will be fine, beginning to feel a little weary and I it's been as cold as UK in Dunedin, but we did find more blue penguins and a couple of yellow eyed penguins and then royal albatross. In Invercargill tonight for flight early am to Stewart Island. Thankfully should be warm this coming week.
Dear All, been a couple of days now so see next update coming to a blog near you