New Zealand Seabird Cruise

To: <>
Subject: New Zealand Seabird Cruise
From: "Dion Hobcroft" <>
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 17:33:52 +1100
I was lucky enough to get a freetrip as an enrichment lecturer on the
Norwegian Wind cruise liner from 14-21.2.02. Departing Auckland it cruised
to the Bay of Isles, Tauranga, one full day at sea between Tauranga and
Wellington, Wellington, Lyttleton and Dunedin, basically cruising the east
coast of NZ.

Major highlight were three Pycroft's Petrels off the Poor Knights Islands (S
35 27.5 E 175 01.4) and further south. Considered in HANZAB to be
indistinguishable at sea, these birds were distinct by the dark slaty cap
appearing almost dusky black at certain angles and in one case causing
concern for both Gould's and Stejneger's Petrels. Also of note was the
longer tail creating a different shape from the longer winged shorter-tailed
Cook's Petrels of which over 50 were seen well in northern waters.
Examination of specimens in the Te Papa Museum of all of the above
Cookilaria species was also an interesting exercise. The high relatively
stable viewing platform the ship provided was also valuable-in one case we
even got some birds in the telescope.

Seabirds seen during the voyage from the ship were Yellow-eyed Penguin
(detected by call and then spotted off Taiaroa Head, Dunedin), Little
Penguin, Wandering Albatross ( gibsoni and antipodensis types most abundant
off Gisborne with over 20 following at once), Northern Royal Albatross
 single in Cook Strait and several off Dunedin), Shy Albatross, Salvin's
Albatross ( 20 plus in Cook Strait), Black-browed Albatross (only two seen
both immatures off Gisborne), Buller's Albatross (10 plus off Gisborne, a
few in Cook Strait and off Dunedin), Northern Giant-petrel, Cape Petrel,
Great-winged Petrel, Mottled Petrel ( 1 off Gisborne which followed in the
wake for several minutes), Pycroft's Petrel, Cook's Petrel, Fairy Prion,
White-chinned Petrel, Flesh-footed, Buller's, Sooty, Fluttering, Hutton's
and one Little Shearwater and several White-faced Storm-petrels. Two
Black-fronted Terns were good value-one in Dunedin Harbour and one in
Lyttleton Harbour.

Marine mammals were a Sperm Whale in Cook Strait, a pod of presumably
Long-finned Pilot Whales off Gisborne, numerous pods of Common Dolphins and
four beautiful Hector's Dolphins in Lyttleton Harbour and around Bank's

It was an interesting and productive way to combine pelagic bird and mammal
observing with great food and Las Vegas style shows. It was all very
enjoyable until Lise informed me (while I was in Dunedin) that Tony had
called to let me know that there was Kentish Plover three hours drive up the
road from Sydney!


Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • New Zealand Seabird Cruise, Dion Hobcroft <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU