13 December 2014

Interesting Bird Watching Tour

I stole this picture of Air Chathams Convair ZK-CIE on the Chathams from their Facebook site after the arrival of the Heritage Expeditions tour from Christchurch...  What a great way to start the trip with the flight to the Chathams on such an interesting "bird"! So that got me looking and I found this really interesting tour itinerary...

Subantarctic Expedition: Birding Down Under 24 November 2014 itinerary:

Day 1: Christchurch
Arrive in Christchurch and join us for complimentary night’s accommodation at a city hotel. This evening at an informal dinner you will meet other members of the expedition and some of our expedition team.

Day 2: Chatham Islands – Waitangi
We transfer you to Christchurch airport for the charter flight to the Chatham Islands; on arrival we transfer you to the Spirit of Enderby. Familiarise yourself on board and meet the rest of the expedition team.

Day 3: Chatham Islands – Waitangi
After an early breakfast we go ashore on the main Chatham Islands where we might see the endemic Chatham Island Shag and along the coast the Chatham Island Oystercatcher. We visit a private bush reserve on the south coast to see the Chatham Island Warbler, Chatham Island Pigeon and Tui. This evening we will take another look for the Magenta and Chatham Island Petrels as we cruise the southern coastline of the main island.

Day 4: Pyramid Rock, South East Island and Mangere Islands
Arrive early morning at the spectacular Pyramid Rock, the only breeding place of the Chatham Island Albatross. Then at South East Island one of the world’s greatest nature reserves we Zodiac cruise to see the endangered Shore Plover. We will also keep our eyes peeled for the Pitt Island Shag. Before we depart the archipelago we visit the Mangere Islands from where the endemic Black Robin was rescued.

Day 5: At Sea
We continue south towards the Bounty Islands, pelagic birding should be good and will include (among others) 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.

Day 6: Bounty Islands

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. If sea conditions permit we plan a Zodiac cruise here for a closer look at some of these species.

Day 7: Antipodes Islands
One of the most isolated, least known and rugged of the Subantarctic Islands; landings are not permitted, so we cruise along the coast looking for the endemic Antipodes Island and Reischek’s Parakeet. We may also see the Antipodes subspecies of the New Zealand Pipit, and with half the world population of Erect-crested Penguins here, we should encounter one or two as well as Antarctic Terns and Kelp Gulls.

Day 8: At Sea
Join us on the bridge, where we 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 the hard to identify prion species.

Day 9: Campbell Island – Perseverance Harbour
We drop anchor in Perseverance Harbour. Once on shore we walk to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross or to Northwest Bay, pass beautiful megaherbs growing on the hills. During the day ashore we should see the Campbell Island Shag, Southern Skua, Antarctic Tern, Dunnock, New Zealand Pipit, Campbell Island Teal and hopefully the elusive Campbell Island Snipe.

Day 10: At Sea
We will be keeping a keen lookout for cetaceans, albatross and petrels today, relax in the ship’s bar or catch up on your reading in the library.

Day 11 to 12: Macquarie Island
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 be seen here. We 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.

Day 13: At Sea
We can expect some of the best pelagic birding on this leg of the journey with great views of species such as the Royal Albatross, Wandering Albatross, Shy Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, White-chinned Petrel, diving-petrel, Little Shearwaters, storm-petrels and to confuse everybody numerous prion species.

Day 14: Auckland Islands – Carnley Harbour
These islands have witnessed many a shipwreck in days gone, they 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 amongst the tussocks above the colony.

Day 15: Auckland Islands - Enderby Island
Enderby Island is a great place to view birds and wildlife. We 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. We will also 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.

Day 16: The Snares - North East Island
Cruise by Zodiac if weather and sea conditions are suitable along the sheltered eastern side of North East Island. We should see the endemic Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit and Fernbirds. Also we 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.

Day 17:Invercargill
Early this morning we will arrive in the Port of Bluff. After a final breakfast we bid farewell to our fellow voyagers and take a complimentary coach transfer to either a central city point or to the airport.

The itinerary map for 2013... this year's trip reversed the direction

For more details see http://heritage-expeditions.com/trip/subantarctic-birding-down-under-24-nov-2014/

1 comment:

  1. That would be fantastic!! Need some serious $$ though :)