Kaikoura - Albatross Capotal on New Zealand.

With up to 10 species of albatross visiting Kaikoura you can be sure of a great time birding here! The Kaikoura Canyon is the point where warm and cold currents mix, causing an up-welling of nutrient-rich water which supports a vibrant food chain. The net result is a huge variety of sea-birds and mammals that are relatively easy to see (though not necessarily easy to identify) from a suitable boat.

The Albatross Encounter (www.encounterkaikoura.co.nz) turned out to be one of the most memorable boat trips I have ever been on; there were seabirds everywhere! And when the Wandering Albatross came planing in at an astonishing speed towards the chum that had been put out (and I realised a wide-angle lens was needed) I wondered if I had died and gone to heaven....

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It is best to look at my flickr feed to see the range of birds that I was able to photograph; really, the problem was holding on (literally and to my breakfast) and keeping the birds in the focus-points due to the `slight swell`.

The birds come so close (I hadn`t expected the noble albatross to be SO bold) is the chum dragged behind the boat to attract them. As I mentioned elsewhere, fishing-boats are also investigated in this way and are worth watching if one is passing on a ferry. This shot was taken just before a Royal Albatross decided to try and eat my camera.....

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Next time we visit New Zealand (and we will) this is one place we will go back to; the Dolphin Encounter will have to be tried as well next time...

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This has been a brief description of an amazing morning but I think a glance of a few of the pictures I brought home will speak better than words.

O yes, and the expert on board constantly points out and names the birds as they arrive AND provides a list of what was seen on the trip - don`t forget to ask for one!

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