Well another year is almost over, with Christmas 2016 having passed and New Years Eve fast approaching! Our 2016-17 season has gone well so far, with three 21-day tours during November and December 2016. Brent was also onboard the ‘Spirit of Enderby’ for several New Zealand subantarctic cruises with guests during this time also. Many of you may have heard of the earthquake experienced near Kaikoura in November, and due to damage caused by this quake, we were unable to visit Kaikoura as planned during two of these tours. Alternate plans had to be made, but unfortunately this has meant the Albatross Encounter pelagic out of Kaikoura was unable to be taken. We are saddened by the affect this quake is having on the Kaikoura community, and will be trying our best to get back there in our early 2017 tours.
The end of 2016 has delivered a flurry of vagrants, causing much excitement in the New Zealand birding community. First off a Wilson’s phalarope (fourth NZ record) has been in Napier from mid-Nov, showing well along with a marsh sandpiper (BirdingNZ.net post). Then a laughing gull (first record for New Zealand) was spotted near Ohiwa Harbour on 23 Dec (BirdingNZ.net post), and an Asiatic dowitcher (fifth NZ record) at Motueka Sandpit on 25 Dec (BirdingNZ.net post). Some awesome birds!
So Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year! Let’s hope 2017 is another great bird-filled and happy year for everyone. We still have places on many of our early 2017 pelagics, one or two spots on our 8 Feb 21-day departure, and our late 2017 tours are filling well. Email us if you need further information!