Day 25 of our Visit to Australia and New Zealand

January 3rd, 2012

Visited the Otago Museum and took a wildlife tour on the peninsula


rainy day
We have started our wildlife tour and here we are looking across the Bay towards Dunedin.

We took our tour with Elm Wildlife Tours. It was a good experience. We had a knowledgeable guide and there were eight in our group: the guide knew where all the critters were; and the tour group was still small enough to feel personalized.
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rainy day
The first stop on the tour was near a nesting area for the Southern Royal Albatross. We did not see the actual nesting area, but saw many fly overhead. According to wiki, the have an average wingspan of 3m (almost 10 feet with an upper limit of 11.5 feet). When the wind was up, we would see one or two glide by. Link to wiki.
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gulls
At this stop, we were near many nesting red-billed gulls.
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gull poo
The problem with being near many red-billed gulls....
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gulls
The Albatross nesting area is near the lighthouse. Spencer, Justin and Cathy are pictured here waiting for more sightings of the big bird.
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gulls
At water level, we saw the seaweed swirling around in the surf.
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ducks
On the tour, we visited many wetlands and saw quite a variety of shorebirds. I am pretty sure that these are back swans which are an Australian native introduced to New Zealand. (Link to the Australian Museum information.)
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gull poo
A royal spoonbill. See wiki page.
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seal
A New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) (also called Australian fur seal or southern fur seal ). See wiki page.
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gull poo   seal with pup
A pup looking out to sea and a nursing pup.
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gull poogull poo
A friendly sea lion on the beach. This one kept wondering closer to us and we finally high-tailed it to the hill-side.
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gull poo
Here is a picture on the side of the van that took us on our tour. We all tried to get pictures this good of the individual animals...
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blue penguin chick
A blue penguin chick in a nest burrow. (see wiki page on little penguins)
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blue penguin chick

Yellow-eyed penguins are native to New Zealand and breed around the South Island. (see wiki page on yellow-eyed penguins)
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blue penguin chick   
Here are a couple of yellow-eyed penguins with their chick in the lower picture. (see wiki page on yellow-eyed penguins)
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seal
Peter walking into one of the blinds that we used for viewing.
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blue penguin chick   
We walked along the beach to get to the last blind and then we walked back along this trail. Our vehicle was just on the otherside of the farthest hill.
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blue penguin chick   
Back at the end of the trail, the sun is setting and my hair is crazy.
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blue penguin chick   
Here is Spencer.
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blue penguin chick

Here are some good pictures of the sky and fence.
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blue penguin chick

landscape
On our way back into Dunedin, Spencer captured some great views incorporating the setting sun and the marvelous scenery.
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