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are a petrel that nests local, they are a winter nester in burrows
high on islands. A dark brown petrel with a smudge of pale grey
around the base of a quite heavy, short hooked bill. They are
a strong fast flier that rarely approaches a boat, they are the
predominant dark petrel here in winter, they then start to move
south in spring with a few present through summer. Those are probably
young birds which leave the nest from November to January.
A small petrel
which arrives here in the warmest months, plumage is similar to
Bullers shearwater with a black W across the wings and back. They
can be distinguished by their smaller size, a flash of white on
the face and their fast wheeling flight. They will occasionally
come to a boat to pick up scraps but will rarely alight. Breeding
is mostly on Little Barrier Island above 1000 ft eggs are laid
in November with the young flying in March and April.
When you see these
small frail looking birds skipping over the sea you wonder how
they survive the storms of the open ocean, but survive they do
as these dainty little birds arrive here every spring. They are
the only storm petrel which is at all common here, their white
underside and flash of white on the face identifies them. I have
never seen one sitting on the water but they will pick up scraps
behind the boat although they don't come very close. Nesting is
in burrows on islands from the Three Kings to the sub-antarctic,
eggs are laid in October with the young flying in February.
took this photo in December 1999, it's the first time I've seen
short-tailed shearwaters here. I saw them on two consecutive days
probably 6 birds in all, I have now seen them on several other
occasions. They are an aggressive bird which is very keen to come
to the boat and feed. The species is mainly restricted to southern
Australian waters with the main concentrations being around Bass
Strait with a few straying to NZ in the summer.
Grey headed molly
These birds are
not common here but in early winter 2000 we saw them on several
days. The bird in the top photo landed by the boat and accepted
fish scraps. They have a circumpolar range and breed in conjunction
with Black-browed Mollymawks laying in October with the young
leaving the nest in March.
The only albatross seen in New
Zealand which has entirely dark plumage. A very rare visitor around
the East Cape. I have only seen four to date, two of which flew
around the boat on the 28th of May 2000. They breed on the Auckland,
Antipodes, Macquarie and Campbell Islands laying in October with
the young flying in March or April.
These small black
storm petrels with their white rump patch are quite uncommon here
we usually only see a few in spring and autumn when they pass
heading south and back north again. Breeds in the Antarctic in
Prions are a common
winter bird here but being able to pick which species is beyond
my experience. I suspect we see at least two species.
skua, light phase
These skua's are quite uncommon around Tolaga Bay
the bird in the photo was chasing white fronted terns and huttons
shearwaters right in the bay.
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