Saturday, June 15, 2013


Perched on the southeast margin of the Bounty Platform, over 800 km from the South Island, the Antipodes group is the most remotest and also the youngest of the New Zealand subantarctic islands. At 49 degrees south, the group is more or less diametrically opposite London on the planet, hence the unusual name for the main island. Dense grasslands predominate, mostly Poa foliosa. The magnificent Antipodean Wandering Albatross is the featured seabird which we shall see on DAY 12 of the Birding Down Under Voyage. Except for a handful of nests on Campbell Island, the Antipodes Islands provide the only breeding sites for this species, which was declared a separate species from the other "wandering" albatrosses of the world. Compared to the Gibson's Albatross of the Auckland Islands, the Antipodean Albatross breeds three weeks later (eggs laid between January and early February) and has different feeding grounds, east of mainland New Zealand. Female birds are darker at all ages than their Auckland Island relatives.

Landings are not permitted. If the weather allows, we shall cruise by Zodiac along the coastline where we hope to see the Antipodes Parakeet, the largest of the New Zealand parakeets. This species has an entirely green head. We also look for the Reischek's Parakeet a strong subspecies of the Red-crowned Parakeet found in the Auckland Islands and on the Chatham Islands. We also see the Antipodes subspecies of the New Zealand Pipit. Good views of both Erect-crested, below, and Rockhopper Penguins can be expected along the coast as they often breed in mixed colonies. Antarctic Terns and Kelp Gulls are often seen in good numbers. 
At the end of our visit, we sail for the Bounty Islands.
Debi Shearwater

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