20 May 2013

Hauraki Gulf Pelagic - 23rd March 2013

New Zealand Storm Petrel  Pealornis maoriana

We booked this trip through Pterodroma Pelagics before we left Hong Kong. Website here:-


There was plenty of parking near the pier at Sandspit, and we met Chris Gaskin the trip leader shortly before the start at 08:00hrs.  


We also met Graham Speight, who, like us would be going on the "Western Pacific Odyssey" a couple of days later.

Although we'd been on seabird trips from Kaikoura on NZ's South Island there were a number of seabird "possibles" from the north part of North Island that we hadn't seen, with a significant attraction embodied by  New Zealand Storm-Petrel, recently discovered to be breeding on Little Barrier Island in the Gulf.  

We stopped at Little Barrier during the morning, and some of the resident ornithologists came aboard with us for the rest of the day, including Paul Schofield, author of the the 2007 Helm guide "Albatrosses, Petrel and Shearwaters of the World".

So, you couldn't have a better team to identify the seabirds…but if any of these picture captions are wrong, it's entirely my fault !

Blue Penguin Eudyptula minor

White-capped Albatross  Thalassarche steadi

Fairy Prion Pachytila turtur

Buller's Shearwater Puffinus bulleri

Cook's Petrel  Pterodroma cookii

A period of "Chumming" in late morning brought the Storm-petrels in.  There was only one NZ Storm-petrel, but one was enough for us ....

New Zealand Storm Petrel  Pealornis maoriana

Wilson's Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus

Black Petrel Procellaria parkinsoni

Flesh-footed Shearwater losing a scrap to Black Petrel Procellaria parkinsoni

Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes

Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes

A lunch break was taken in the lee of some rocky islets that held colonies of Grey Ternlets.. 

Grey Ternlet   Procelsterna cerulea

Hauraki Gulf

It was quite grey when we started, but clear and sunny by the time we finished. With a rain storm in between, typical NZ "Four seasons in one day" weather. 

We had a day in pleasant company, and,  as you can see above, a fine variety of seabirds, too. 


  1. Terrific photos John. Congrats.

  2. Wow what a post! Must be extremely fun to join one of these boat trips. I especially like the storm-petrels. They look pretty cute and funny when hanging their legs above the water.

  3. Andrew, Stu and Phil, Thanks !

    And Thanks, too Ayuwat, I agree the Storm-petrels are very attractive..