Royal Albatross Colony

We went for another run this morning. My legs were sore from yesterday’s run, but it felt good to get another run in. We have been walking and hiking a lot here in New Zealand, but I feel like I need more exercise. After the run we did some chores for a while before driving to tour the Royal Albatross Center outside Dunedin.

Royal albatross sitting on its nest

Royal albatross sitting on its nest

The Otago peninsula near Dunedin is home to a small colony of royal albatross. This colony is the only albatross colony found on a human-inhabited mainland in the Southern hemisphere. Most royal albatross will nest on much smaller islands in the middle of the ocean. When they’re not nesting, the albatross live at sea, circling the globe in the southern oceans while feeding on squid and other sea life.

Our tour allowed us to walk to an enclosed observation room which had two-way mirrored windows. From there we could see several nesting albatross and an occasional albatross soaring through the air. They look kind of like large seagulls, but they actually have a wingspan of almost 10 feet! It was cool to see them, but it’s hard to appreciate their true size from a distance.

The parents take turns between feeding out at sea for several days at a time and incubating the egg

The parents take turns between feeding out at sea for several days at a time and incubating the egg

Look at that wingspan!

Look at that wingspan!

A closer look at the underside

A closer look at the underside

After our tour we spent more time in the area watching for the occasional albatross and also observing the many red beaked gulls. We’ve seen lots of gulls on this trip, but this might be the first time we’ve seen gull chicks, so that was interesting. We also marveled as a huge cruise ship performed a tight U-turn nearby and headed out to sea. We contemplated hanging around until dark to watch for penguins returning from sea, but that was hours away so we just returned to camp. Hopefully we’ll see penguins in the next town of Oamaru. It’s supposedly a good place to see them.

Red beaked gull and chick

Red beaked gull and chick

Juvenille red beaked gull

Juvenille red beaked gull

Hair-like seaweed

Hair-like seaweed

Cruise ship that came past the point

Cruise ship that came past the point

Gull chick

Gull chick

Awkward seagull

Awkward seagull

Sandfly Bay

Sandfly Bay, where penguins return from sea at dusk

 

Geotag Icon Show on map

Leave a Reply