My second pelagic boat trip was every bit as quiet as the first one 3 weeks ago. Bird numbers were pretty low again but several of the species seen were not seen on the first trip so it was well worthwhile and even if there had been nothing different it is always a joy to watch the albatrosses.
The star of the show was a beautiful adult Campbell Albatross. This was previously regarded as a subspecies of Black-browed Albatross but is now generally accepted to be a full species.
Adults can be fairly easily separated from Black-browed by their striking straw-coloured eyes and darker, more defined, triangular black eyebrow.
The main difference between this pelagic and the last one was the prescence of more of the smaller seabirds, the commonest of which was the Fairy Prion with up to six visible at a time.
Three species of storm-petrels were seen during the day: Wilson's, White-faced and Grey-backed. Unfortunately, I didn't get any sharp images of the Grey-backed which was the one and only lifer for me out of the two pelagic trips, but at least I got reasonably ok shots of the other two...
On our jouney back, as we were steaming back towards the shore, a massive immature Wandering Albatross briefly came to investigate us.
With a wingspan of up to 3.5m, Wandering Albatross has the largest wingspan of any bird, although it is very difficult to identify in its younger immature plumages from the slightly smaller gibsoni race of Antipodean Albatross. The long, massive bill with the feathering at the base of the bill extending further along the lower mandible than the upper mandible identify this individual as an immature Wandering Albatross.
A reasonably-sized colony of Australian Fur Seals are usually basking on the rocks at the base of the cliffs on the islands just off-shore. I was told there are usually a few New Zealand Fur Seals in among them but, as far as I can tell, there are none of this very similar species in any of the photos I took.
A very confiding Black-faced Cormorant was waiting for us at the dockside in the hope of getting handouts from fishermen.
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