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Kaikoura, New Zealand (Center on Interactive Map)

Map of Kaikoura, New Zealand

Map of Kaikoura, New Zealand

Dusky Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) South Island Oystercatcher (Haematopus finschi) New Zealand Fur Seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) Flesh-footed Shearwater (Ardenna carneipes) Halls Giant-Petrel (Macronectes halli) Sperm Whale (Physeter catodon)
Sperm Whale (Physeter catodon) Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius) New Zealand Fur Seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) Westland Petrel (Procellaria westlandica) White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis) Huttons Shearwater (Puffinus huttoni)
Bullers Shearwater (Ardenna bulleri) Australian Gannet (Morus serrator) Antipodean Albatross (Diomedea antipodensis) Antipodean Albatross (Diomedea antipodensis) Cape Petrel (Daption capense) Cape Petrel (Daption capense)
Halls Giant-Petrel (Macronectes halli)

Kaikoura is known in New Zealand as a place to see whales and sea-birds. The coastal shelf is only a couple of miles off-shore, so you can see things here that would normally require a couple of hours trip out into the ocean.


New Zealand

1/20/2012: I had an early morning appointment to go out to sea to find more albatross. The weather was just windy enough to make this worthwhile, and we headed out a couple of miles to sea. The boat was cozy, and we had a small group of six people. After chumming the water with some cod livers, we were able to get some close encounters with Albatrosses, Petrels, and Shearwaters.

Later that day, we had scheduled the whale watching trip. The trip was in limbo, however, as there had not been any whales close to shore that morning. When the time for the trip came, however, it was determined that one whale had come within 9 km of the shore. We were all packed into the bus, and then packed into a catamaran. The catamaran journey was not cool, though, as everyone was required to stay inside the boat as we rocket-boated out to the whale sighting area.

After 30 minutes of being tossed around inside the boat, everyone went outside to look for whales. The target was the Sperm Whale, and that would be a challenge considering that they dive for a hour at a time. The boat had some underwater microphone, though, so we knew a whale was in the area. After waiting for some time, Barbara finally spotted the whale (before some 70 other tourists and 10 crew). The whale was on the surface spouting for a few minutes before making another hour-long dive to the depths.

On the way back to town, we came upon a pod of Dusky Dolphins. Everyone was let out of the inside which the boat hot-rodded around to attract the attention of the dolphins. The ride at this point was very herky-jerky, and I was lucky to keep my camera dry as we smashed into the swell. At one point, I was thrown to the deck of the boat. My knee is still messed up from that one over a month later. The pod of a couple hundred dolphins jumped up around the wake of the boat, and they were certainly more impressive than the whale.

That night, we met some of the locals in the bar as we tried the various New Zealand beers.

Previous Visit (Mata Kopee Lagoon: 1/19/2012)
Next Visit (Queen Charlotte Sound: 1/22/2012)

Species Recorded (31)

Birds ( 28 )

Penguins ( Spheniscidae )
Little Penguin - Eudyptula minor

Albatrosses ( Diomedeidae )
Cape Petrel - Daption capense
Antipodean Albatross - Diomedea antipodensis
Southern Royal Albatross - Diomedea epomophora
White-Capped Albatross - Thalassarche cauta

Shearwaters and Petrels ( Procellariidae )
Buller's Shearwater - Ardenna bulleri
Flesh-footed Shearwater - Ardenna carneipes
Southern Giant-Petrel - Macronectes giganteus
Northern Giant-Petrel - Macronectes halli
Common Diving-Petrel - Pelecanoides urinatrix
White-chinned Petrel - Procellaria aequinoctialis
Westland Petrel - Procellaria westlandica
Fluttering Shearwater - Puffinus gavia
Hutton's Shearwater - Puffinus huttoni

Boobies and Gannets ( Sulidae )
Australasian Gannet - Morus serrator

Cormorants ( Phalacrocoracidae )
Little Pied Cormorant - Microcarbo melanoleucos
Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo
Spotted Shag - Phalacrocorax punctatus
Pied Cormorant - Phalacrocorax varius

Herons ( Ardeidae )
White-faced Heron - Egretta novaehollandiae
Pacific Reef-Heron - Egretta sacra

Swans, Geese, and Ducks ( Anatidae )
Graylag Goose - Anser anser

Oystercatchers ( Haematopodidae )
South Island Oystercatcher - Haematopus finschi

Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers ( Laridae )
Silver Gull - Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae
Kelp Gull - Larus dominicanus
White-fronted Tern - Sterna striata

Pigeons and Doves ( Columbidae )
Rock Pigeon - Columba livia

Brushfinches, Seedeaters, Sparrows, and Allies ( Emberizinae )
Yellowhammer - Emberiza citrinella




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