Monday, 11 May 2009

Lucky, lucky, lucky

Not with the weather, that is. But the wildlife has been extremely cooperative on this trip, I feel like Dr Dolittle. Birds queueing up to be photographed, a higher than average number of whales, dolphins returning to Kaikoura after a few days away just in time for me to swim with them. And now the albatrosses. I took an Otago peninsula wildlife tour yesterday, including a half hour in the royal albatross viewing hide. Many visitors see only a few chicks waiting patiently for their parents to return from marathon fishing trips, which only happens every 2-3 days. We saw 4 adults soaring past the hide (several times each), 2 chicks being fed (see below), one take-off, and as a bonus, a hawk also hovered 10 yards from the hide, then pounced on a mouse and took off with the unlucky wee thing still in its claws. Our guide was practically in ecstasy, proclaiming us the luckiest visitors of the whole season.

The tour also involved seals (Mums and Pups, far more active than the sleeping heaps of blubber I've seen elsewhere), sealions, and yellow-eyed penguins, all at the far end of the peninsula. Plus spectacular raging seas, I've no idea how the seals at that location survive their trips from sea to land, we'd look like we'd spent 5 minutes in a blender.

Still no kiwis yet though, hope to put this right in the north island.

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