A Disappointing Start

This is the first post in my 2018 Christmas South Island Road Trip series with Steve Richards.


The Wairau Lagoons, just outside of Blenheim was to be our first port of call on our latest trip south this Christmas. We were there to find and photograph the Glossy Ibis, of which we saw only one, but it was seen at a great distance away. However, what we did see up close was heartbreaking.

An hour out from dark, cats started to make an appearance. Not just one or two but perhaps as many as half a dozen were seen as we walked back to the car.

Cute Kitten, but disastrous to bird life and Lizards.

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Wellington pelagic trip November 2018

After trying to get out onto the Cook Straight twice earlier on in the year, I finally guessed the weather right this November.
Windy Wellington lives up to its name and I had previously booked trips in early winter that had to be cancelled due to high winds. However, I got the weather right this time and November the 17th was fine and it was a happy and excited group of 12 hopefuls that put their trust in captain Jonno and out into the choppy sea we went.
Every trip is different and on this trip saw heaps and heaps of taiko or Western Black Petrels along with the other usual suspects.
The main culprits were

  • Salvin’s Mollymawk
  • White-capped Mollymawk
  • Black-browed Mollymawk
  • Giant Northern Petrel
  • Western Black Petrel
  • Flesh-footed Shearwater

At times there were so many birds circling the boat it was impossible to single one out, without so many others photobombing my subject.

Too many birds in the frame is not really a reason for complaint but rather a challenge.

This trip sea was lumpy due to a stiff breeze. These are ideal conditions, as the breeze assists the birds to skim across the rises and troughs making for more dramatic images.

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