Saturday, 4 February 2012

Hauraki Gulf Pelagic - New Zealand.


After a late night return from Whitianga it was an early start for our second consecutive pelagic and so today we had to head for to the sleepy fishing village of Leigh (this is all to similar isn't it). This time we were in the Hauraki Gulf which is a 4 hour drive north of Miranda. When we arrived at 08:00 hrs the weather was better for being out at sea with overcast conditions & a good strong on shore wind. We headed out and for the first hour I slept on one of the bunk beds but woke up just before we arrived at the first location. This was in some what slightly shallower waters above a reef, we started a slick and chumming and within 20 minutes we had a nice collection of Cooks Petrels coming close in and White Faced Stormies feeding off the back of the boat and in the slick.


Yesterday was the first time I had seen White Faced Storm Petrel and so again today it was good to see them but especially as we had the target species in amongst them.

This trip was all about 1 species and 1 species alone for me and that species was New Zealand Storm Petrel. I was really pleased to see this once presumed extinct species and I have to say it is a real cracker & that I can't rate this species highly enough. We got some great views but they were very difficult to get good and sharp photos of. We had around 7-8 individuals as they came in around the boat in to the slick in and amongst the White Faced Stormies.

A Great bird, other species seen today included many more Cooks Petrels, Grey Ternlets, huge rafts of Bullers Shearwaters with at least 11 Black Petrels sat on the water off the back of the boat late afternoon. I would like to go back and see this species again one day. We was at sea for just on 11 hours and then had the return drive back to Miranda. This was a good pelagic trip in terms of sightings but could have done with longer whilst chumming and watching the slick.