New Zealand

5th November - 4th December 2005

Taiaroa Head

Taiaroa Head, just east of Dunedin, has the only mainland albatross breeding colony in the world. The small colony of Northern Royal Albatross was established relatively recently, with the first chicks being reared in 1938. Since then the colony has grown to around 50 pairs. The albatross are quite sensitive to disturbance after they first arrive back at the colony in September and throughout the egg-laying period. Because of this, there is no access to the colony from September to the end of November, and the only views you can get are of birds flying over the car park or relatively distant views over the waters around the headland.

Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea [epomophora] sanfordi)

At the base of the cliffs, there were a few New Zealand Fur Seals, including this large male...

Male New Zealand Fur Seal (Arctocephalus forsteri)

Good, close views of nesting Spotted Shags are also possible here...

Adult Spotted Shag (Phalacrocorax punctatus)

This young Spotted Shag spent about 10 minutes playing with a stick...

Juvenile Spotted Shag (Phalacrocorax punctatus)

MacKenzie Basin & Mt. Cook New Zealand map Nugget Point