RFI Cook Strait ferry, NZ

To: "John Leonard" <>, "birding-aus" <>
Subject: RFI Cook Strait ferry, NZ
From: "Tom and Mandy Wilson" <>
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2005 21:48:08 +1000
I did it for a work thing in March last year (I work in Sydney for an NZ
based company), so a couple of points:
- if you have the time, take the ferry not the jet cat (which we did) - you
get longer to look at the birds (but it does take longer to get to the other
side if you have places to go of course!)
- start watching from the moment you clear the dock at Wellington to docking
at Picton - not only do you see pelagics on the Strait, but the Marlborough
Sounds have plenty of shorebirds, gannets, cormorants/shags and fairy
penguins - I saw 1 King Shag from the jet cat (which cruises the Sounds at
slow speed) - and there are often some birds on Port Nicholson/Wellington
Harbour itself (esp if it's very rough "outside" - they come and loaf in the
harbour mouth) - I have seen Huttons Shearwaters about 30 feet off the dock
near the Te Papa museum when it's been really grim on the strait.
- my understanding is that as Cook Strait is a passage way from one coast of
NZ to the other, almost anything that is found in the NZ pelagic zone could
show up.  I've only done it once (late March) and I saw some albatross (Shy
& Black Browed), shearwaters (Sooty, Flesh Footed, Little,
Fluttering/Huttons) and petrels (unidentified - we were going too fast)
Good luck - and don't forget the sea sick tablets - it can get pretty
Tom Wilson

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