BIRDING DOWN UNDER
|1 - 2||Invercargill||Briefing and Dinner, Southland Museum, Board the Spirit of Enderby|
|3||The Snares- North East Island||Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds|
|4 & 5||Auckland Islands||Enderby Island & Carnley Harbour|
|6||At Sea||Keep an eye on Sea Birds|
|7 & 8||Macquarie Island||See the Royal Penguin, along with King, Gentoo and Rock Hopper Penguins & Elephant Seals|
|9||At Sea||Look for cetaceans, albatross & petrels|
|10||Campbell Island||Perseverance Harbour|
|11||At Sea||Look for the commonly seen species; Albatross’, petrels & prion species|
|12||Antipodes Islands||One of the most isolated, least known & rugged of Subantarctic Islands|
|13||Bounty Islands||Granite Islets home to an abundance of wildlife|
|14||At Sea & Pyramid Rock||The only breeding place of the Chatham Island Albatross|
|15||Chatham Islands||Waitangi. Chatham Island Shag, Oystercatcher, Warbler, Pigeon & Tui’s.|
|16||South East Island & Mangere Islands||Great nature reserve, endangered Shore Plover, Pitt Island Shag, Black Robin|
|17 & 18||At Sea||Cross the Chatham Rise|
|19||Dunedin||Disembark in the historic Otago Harbour|
The Spirit of Enderby is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and is perfect for expedition travel. She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in March 2013 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space. On board there is a combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room.
Meet this evening for an informal get-together at the hotel for dinner and meet fellow adventurers on your voyage and some of the expedition team before your birding adventure begins. The following morning visit the Southland Museum to view the special Subantarctic display before transferring to the Port of Bluff where you will embark on the Spirit of Enderby for the Birding Down Under voyage.
Cruise by Zodiac if weather and sea conditions are suitable along the sheltered eastern side of North East Island. You should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds. Also you should see Cape Pigeons, Antarctic Terns, White-fronted Terns and Red-billed Gulls. There are hundreds of thousands of Sooty Shearwaters nesting here. Buller’s Albatross breed here from late December onwards.
Enderby Island is a great place to view birds and wildlife. Visit Sandy Bay, the main breeding ground for the rare New Zealand (Hooker’s) Sea Lion and just one of three breeding grounds on the Auckland Islands. There are chances to observe the Southern Royal Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel, Auckland Island Shag, Auckland Island Flightless Teal, Auckland Island Banded Dotterel, Auckland Island Tomtit, Bellbird, Pipit, Red-crowned Parakeet, Yellow-eyed Penguin and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross. Keep a lookout for the rare Subantarctic Snipe. On Derry Castle Reef there is a good chance of seeing the Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone and perhaps other migratory waders.
These islands have witnessed many a shipwreck in days gone by and harbour tales of castaways and coastwatchers. If weather and sea conditions are suitable energetic expeditioners are able to climb to the South West Cape Shy Albatross colony where Gibson’s Wandering Albatross nest among the tussocks above the colony.
Expect some of the best pelagic birding on this leg of the journey from the Auckland Islands to Macquarie Island with great views of species such as the Royal Albatrosses, Wandering Albatrosses, Shy Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, White-chinned Petrel, diving-petrel, Little Shearwaters, storm-petrel and to confuse everybody, numerous prion species.
The only place in the world where the beautiful Royal Penguin breeds, this remote outpost supports a breath-taking concentration of wildlife. You will never forget your first experience of a noisy ‘penguin city’ where you will be witness to a thousand chattering, feeding chicks; territorial disputes; petty pilfering and courtship displays: King, Gentoo and Rockhopper Penguins can also be seen here. Meet with Park Rangers and seek out the thousands of Southern Elephant Seals lolling on the beaches and along the coast, Redpolls and Imperial Shag can often be spotted.
Keep a keen lookout for cetaceans, albatross and petrels today, relax in the ship’s bar or catch up on your reading in the library.
Drop anchor in Perseverance Harbour. Once on shore walk to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross or to Northwest Bay, passing beautiful megaherbs growing on the hills. During the day ashore you should see the Campbell Island Shag, Southern Skua, Antarctic Tern, Dunnock, New Zealand Pipit, Campbell Island Teal and hopefully the elusive Campbell Island Snipe.
Jump on the bridge, where you can keep a keen lookout for species commonly seen in this area: Black-browed Albatross, Campbell Island Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Sooty Shearwater and Little Shearwater. There should be plenty of petrels and again the hard to identify prion species.
One of the most isolated, least known and rugged of the Subantarctic Islands; landings here are not permitted, so you will cruise along the coast looking for the endemic Antipodes Island and Reischek’s Parakeet. You may also see the Antipodes subspecies of the New Zealand Pipit, and with half the world population of Erect-crested Penguins here, you should encounter one or two as well as Antarctic Terns and Kelp Gulls.
These inhospitable granite islets are home to thousands of Salvin’s Albatross, Erect-crested Penguins, Fulmar Prions and the endemic Bounty Island Shag, the world’s rarest. At sea you should spot Wandering Albatross species, Northern Royal Albatross, Mottled Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel, Broad-billed Prion, White-chinned Petrel and Black-bellied Storm-Petrels as well as Wilson’s Storm-Petrel.
Continue north towards the Chatham Islands, with similar species accompanying you as yesterday. Towards evening as you approach the islands you are closer to the Subantarctic and sub tropical convergence and you will see a subtle change in the species composition. Late this afternoon arrive at the spectacular Pyramid Rock, the only breeding place of the Chatham Island Albatross.
This morning go ashore on the main island where you might see the endemic Chatham Island Shag and along the coast the Chatham Island Oystercatcher. Visit a private bush reserve on the south coast to see the Chatham Island Warbler, Chatham Island Pigeon and Tui. This afternoon have another look for the Magenta and Chatham Island Petrels.
Arrive in the early morning at South East Island, one of the world’s greatest nature reserves. Here the plan is to Zodiac cruise to see the endangered Shore Plover. Also keep your eyes peeled for the Pitt Island Shag. Before you depart the archipelago visit the Mangere Islands from where the endemic Black Robin was rescued.
En route to Dunedin you will cross the Chatham Rise, here nutrient-rich waters allow for an overlap between northern pelagic species and birds from southern latitudes. Expect to see Royal Albatross, Wandering Albatross, Westland Black Petrel, Cook’s Petrel and much more.
Your adventure ends at this historic Otago Harbour. Early this morning arrive in port and after a final breakfast say your farewells before disembarking and transferring by complimentary coach to either a central city point or to the airport.