We joined the Kona pelagic trip arranged by Alex Wang. It was little rough sea condition and some scenes were difficult to observe. However we were happy to see a couple of Hawaiian Petrels. If we have a next chance, we want to see Hawaiian (Band-rumped) Storm Petrel and Newell’s Shearwater.
13:00-19:30 Cloudy Wave height : 1-1.5m (a swell from the east) Wind condition : 4-5m (from the northeast) We joined the pelagic trip by Wrybill Birding Tours.
We want to see a certain Pycroft’s Petrel. Because there are uncertainty records of Pycroft’s Petrel? in Japan. So we wants to make sure of Pycroft’s Petrel! In the Mercury Islands, at off Whitianga, there are colonies of Pycroft’s Petrel. The main purpose of this pelagic trip is observing Pycroft’s Petrels around their colonies. In the end, we could observe 3? Pycroft’s Petrels! We understood that ID is very difficult… But the body balance, face and neck pattern and bill size are certainly different! It is exciting that we could observe 2 Little Shearwaters. In comparison to Bryan’s Shearwater, the under parts (especialy under wing and under tail) of Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis looks more white! In addition, we could observe many Buller’s Shearwaters and some Cook’s Petrels, Parkinson’s Petrels and White-faced Storm-petrels. And the seafood in Whitianga is very delicious!! It was good day :)!
Kaikoura is one of the most famous spot of seabirding. We joined the pelagic trip by Albatross Encounter.
As soon as we left the port, we saw the Albatrosses, Petrels and Gulls that followed the fishing boat. We started first chuming session near the fishing boat. The main species were Wondering Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel, Cape Petrel and Westland Petrel. And there were several White-capped Albatrosses. After that, our boat stands out to sea, Royal Albatross could be seen. Many of them were Southern Royal Albatross, and fortunatrly, we could see a few Northern Royal Albatrosses. On the way of back to the harbor, we played with Dusky Dolphins and we encountered with Spotted shags. Further, the large flock of Hutton’s Shearwaters was a fine sight. We could meet a lot of seabirds, it was a moving trip! thanks!
After departure we met Fluttering Shearwaters(I think), a Arctic Jaeger and Australasian Gannets for a while. Our boat was stopped near the school of fish. Fairy Prions, Cook’s Petrels, Buller’s Shearwaters and Fluttering Shearwaters were attracted to the school of fish! After a while, White-faced Storm-petrels came around the school of fish. And to our joy, New Zealand Storm-petrel came too !! New Zealand Storm-petrel was flying beautiful, quickly and tricky! When the chumming session,Fairy Prion, Cook’s Petrel and Black Petrel came near our boat. After lunch, we encountered a herd of dolphins (False Killer Whale and Common Bottlenose Dolphin). There were many birds with dolphins. Fairy Prions, Cook’s Petrel, Black Petrel, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Buller’s Shearwater, White-faced Storm-petrel and New Zealand Storm-petrel was seen. We could see Blue Penguin on the way to the port 🙂
We planed to join the pelagic trip at Sep. 10th at first, but it was delayed until 11th because of bad sea condition. The weather and sea condition were very good on that day. We departed from Rose Bay around 7:00 am.
In the shore, Fluttering and Hutton’s Shearwater fluttered !! But their ID were difficult for me …. As soon as we were on the open water, we could see a large number of Wedge-tailed shearwaters. Moreover, they were all dark phase !! ( In Japan, dark phase is rare except around Okinawa. ) After that, our boat was stopped and the chumming session was started. Black-browed Albatross, Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross and Buller’s Albatross were coming near the boat. They had vivid and beautiful colorful colors ! Wandering Albatross ( gibson ) came from the distance and landed close to the boat. We were moved !! The Albatross was large, long, heavy-built, cool and cute 🙂 White-faced Storm-Petrel and Willson’s Storm-Petrel were coming near the boat too. Storm-Petrels were dancing on the surface of water around the boat ! ( Willson’s Storm-petrels are observed in the pacific side of Japan.) We encountered a Giant Petrel and a Brown Skua on our way back to Rose Bay. It was a wonderful bonus. I love Giant Petrel very much and I felt very happy 🙂 !!
06:00-16:10 Fine Wave height : 1.5-2.0m Wind condition : 8-10m (from the north-northeast)
I joined the pelagic trip by Mr. Paul Walbridge. I wanted to see Tahiti Petrel, because Tahiti Petrel which has mixed-karma of gadfly-petrels and shearwaters is a very attractive species for me. So, I joined this pelagic, because off Southport is famous place where Tahiti Petrel is seen in regularly. It was exciting that I could observe 16 Tahiti Petrels. In addition, I could observe many ‘dark morph’ Wedge-tailed Shearwaters.
Swinhoe’s Storm-petrel is one of my most favorite seabirds! Therefore I had planned pelagic trip while getting Mr. Con’s cooperation, because I keen want to see ‘migration of Swinhoe’s Storm-petrel’ by all means. As a result, I could observe 75 Swinhoe’s Storm-petrels! They migrated in Singapore Strait towards the Indian Ocean which is non-breeding habitats. There was usually alone or two-three individuals. Aleutian Tern was seen regularly here and observed 30 individuals this time. I’m very glad to see ‘non-breeding plumage’ which was poorly known recently. Thank you Mr. Con!