Campbell Island, New Zealand's southernmost subantarctic territory is as rich and diverse as the other islands. We shall spend DAY 10 of the Birding Down Under Voyage at Perseverance Bay, exploring a myriad of wildlife.
A world center for albatross diversity, the Campbell Islands host more species than any other subantarctic group except Crozet in the southern Indian Ocean. At Campbell six species are breeding and one of the six breeds nowhere else, the Campbell mollymawk, pictured below. An estimated 26,000 pairs of Campbell Albatrosses breed. They nest on the northern part of the main island, either in their own colonies, or mixed with the Grey-headed Albatross which is circumpolar. The Campbell mollymawk is distinguished from the similar looking Black-browed Albatross, another species that breeds here in low numbers, by its honey-colored iris, a bolder black eyebrow and a bill of slightly different color and shape.
The Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, below, typically nests on rocky cliff ledges and other steep places.Southern Royal Albatross, below, and in very low numbers, the Antipodean Albatross. Campbell Island is the Southern Royal's main breeding ground. An estimated 14,000 pairs breed here.
Campbell Island Teal, one of the world's rarest ducks was rediscovered on Dent Island, off Northwest Bay in 1975. Related to the Auckland Island Teal and endangered Brown Teal of mainland New Zealand, it feeds mainly on aquatic or marine invertebrates.
Among the marine mammals, seals are well represented at Campbell Island. There are populations of New Zealand Sea Lion, New Zealand Fur Seal and Southern Elephant Seal.
The removal of sheep and cattle changed the island. But it was the rat eradication program that really brought the island back, including the megaherbs. This is one of the most sensational stories in seabird conservation. The New Zealanders went on to become worldwide experts in the eradication of rats from islands. They are currently working to remove rats from South Georgia, another one of the world's most spectacular subantarctic islands.
We depart for the Antipodes Islands at day's end and spend DAY 11 at sea.