Saturday, June 15, 2013


When HMS Bounty sailed past these islands in 1788, Captain William Bligh recorded 'white spots like patches of snow.' What he observed was almost certainly not snow but areas of guano deposited by generations of seabirds, enameled to the granite surfaces. A more graphic symbol of the sea's dominance over land in these latitudes would be hard to imagine. The Bounty Islands resemble the last vestiges of a disappearing landmass — the tips of the submerged Bounty Platform. The twenty small, low islands form three groups. The Bounty Islands are rarely visited by scientists — or anyone else. On DAY 13 of our Birding Down Under Voyage, we shall cruise by Zodiac around the granitic outposts to have a closer look at birds and New Zealand Fur Seals which were hunted almost to extinction.

These islands are home to thousands of Salvin's Albatrosses, Erect-crested Penguins, Fulmar Prions and the endemic Bounty Island Shag, the world's rarest shag.

In the afternoon, we shall depart for the Chatham Islands. On this day, there will be great opportunities to see a good selection of birdlife, including: Wandering Albatross, Northern Royal Albatross, Mottled Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel and Black-bellied Storm-Petrel. Other possibilities include: White-capped Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel, Cape Petrel, Antarctic Fulmar, Sooty Shearwater, Little Shearwater and Grey-backed Storm-Petrel. We shall begin to keep a sharp eye out for the Chatham Island Petrel.
At sea en route to Waitangi, Chatham Islands.
Debi Shearwater

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