My wife and I recently returned from a ‘bucket list’ trip to New Zealand where we did field work for an upcoming e-book we have planned for 2017. While our focus was on landscape photography I did manage to capture a few images of New Zealand sea birds and mammals.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Our travels included the Royal Albatross Centre on the South Island. Unfortunately I was not able to get any images of the namesake birds at this location. I did manage a number of photographs of New Zealand Fur Seals.
While I was out capturing some images of a couple of fur seals basking in the sun a pair of swimmers went blasting past affording me the above image opportunity.
We also visited the New Zealand Fur Seal colony at Cape Foulwind on the west coast of the South Island where I captured the above image.
There is quite a bit of salmon farming and green-lipped mussel farming done in New Zealand. At times you’ll see fur seals resting on the floats around a salmon pen. This causes the operators some problems especially since the fur seals are protected and must be caught and moved to help reduce salmon losses. The image above was captured while on the Pelorus Mail Boat.
There are a few species of penguins that live in New Zealand waters and I was fortunate to capture a few photographs of them.
Depending on the location and season it is also possible to spot various types of dolphins around both the North and South Islands. Some tour operators have special licenses allowing them to take tourists out to swim with the dolphins.
There is also whale-watching out of Kaikoura on the South Island This beautiful town was rocked by a powerful earthquake while we were in New Zealand. It caused massive rock slides cutting off the town and caused damage as far as 200 kilometres away in Wellington.
Various species of sea birds can also be seen along the coasts of both islands. I captured the image of the oyster catcher above and of it flying, at the harbour in Paihia on the North Island.
Gulls, of course, are plentiful and I didn’t bother photographing them. I was lucky to have the opportunity to capture some images of Australasian Gannets taking off from the surface of the water.
I also had a couple of good opportunities to get some gannets in flight as they cruised overhead during the mail boat cruise.
Small flocks of fluttering shearwaters, as well as individual birds, could be seen on occasion during the mail boat tour.
Capturing them was a bit challenging as they tend to fly fast and low, affording little time to acquire focus on them, especially with my CX 70-300 mm fully extended.
As in many parts of the world there were various species of cormorants. They are called ‘shags’ in New Zealand.
The pied shag, above, is one of the more common species, as is the spotted shag seen in the following two images (at least that’s what I think they are!).
While on the Pelorus Mail Boat tour we happened upon a King Shag which is one of the rarer species in New Zealand.
My luck continued and I was able to capture a few images of some Royal Spoonbills.
The last image in this article is of a Pied Stilt in flight… captured just after we had finished lunch at a small beach on our way to the Coromandel Peninsula.
If you enjoyed this article you may want to have a look at New Zealand Tip-to-Tip. This 250 page eBook features 89 locations in New Zealand and over 400 original photographs. You can use the link to see more detailed information about the eBook. The cost of New Zealand Tip-to-Tip is $12.99 Canadian.
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