Monday, 18 March 2013

From my Archive - New Zealand Storm Petrel

I was intrigued to read a report on the Birdguides Webzine about the recent discovery of the breeding ground of the critically endangered, and previously thought to be extinct, New Zealand Storm Petrel. This news took me back to January 2005, when I spent an exhausting but spectacular day out in the Hauraki Gulf in search of this species, so I thought I would share some of my photos. 

New Zealand Storm Petrel - Hauraki Gulf 

The species was re-discovered by two British birdwatchers, Bob Flood and Bryan Thomas, in 2003. As I was already planning a trip to New Zealand at that time, I jumped at the opportunity to try for it. I spent 16 hours out in the Hauraki Gulf, and was able to enjoy some fantastic views of this species, and loads of others.

New Zealand Storm Petrel - Hauraki Gulf

The list included fluttering, Buller's and flesh-footed sherwaters, fairy prion, Cook's, black, and grey faced petrels. However I think the most memorable images from the trip are the views of New Zealand and white faced storm petrels. 

New Zealand Storm Petrel - Hauraki Gulf 

The most surprising thing to me about reading this article, was the length of time it has taken to find the nesting site. Here we are 10 years after the species' rediscovery and it has only just been found. I think this really demonstrates the time and dedication researchers have to put in to tracking down some of these extremely rare species.

New Zealand Storm Petrel - Hauraki Gulf

Now that the breeding grounds have been discovered I hope that the New Zealand Government makes a better job of protecting it than it is currently doing protecting Maui's dolphin.

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