Saturday, 10 January 2015

Some more wonderful NZ wildlife

WONDERFUL NZ has many wildlife hotspots, but few match the excitement of the Otago Peninsula east of Dunedin on the South Island.  This sticking out block of land provides a home for penguins (which use its quiet beaches and inlets), albatrosses (which launch off the headland), seals and numerous other seabirds and farmland birds too.

Pied stilt

Spur-winged plover

Royal spoonbills on the shallow inlets

A number of albatross species can be seen in the area of the peninsula but only the royal actually nest there. We saw five nests from the hide and more when we went out to sea and looked back at the cliffs.  The wonderful work of the centre there has lead to a sustainable population of breeding birds.

Sign at the albatross centre where they breed on the headland


We visited some of the beaches in the hope of seeing penguins - we were lucky to see one waddling onto the beach and heading off into the dunes:

Yellow eyed penguin arriving at the beach
As well as seals, sealions use the area and these two seemed extremely content.

Sealion mother and calf

Penguin tracks
Evening at the little blue penguin centre looking back at Dunedin

There is a cove where little blue penguins land during the breeding season every night.  They assemble in rafts out at sea, then come in in small flocks.  Once they have found their feet they scramble up the sand to their hidden nests.  These are wonderful little creatures, which chat as they go and seem quite unperturbed by us watching them in the darkening evening.  There were several hundred in total and are well protected by the conservation organisation at the site.

Little blue penguins

The beautiful beaches can be totally empty and the flowers quite stunning.

Lupins on the head of the beach

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