Sunday, 23 November 2014

Royal Albatross Centre on Otago Peninsula

The Royal Albatross Centre is located at Taiaroa Head, right on the end of the Otago Peninsula, approx. 50 minutes drive from Dunedin. Taiaroa Head holds a breeding colony of about 200 Northern Royal Albatross and is the only know place where albatross of any species breed on the mainland - all other nesting sites are on offshore islands. The Centre offers guided tours but we didn't have time for a tour this afternoon (update: we did manage to fit one in on Friday). However, the place is still well worth a visit for views over the spectacular cliffs with nesting Spotted Shags and Red-billed Gulls (= Silver Gull in Australia)

Spotted Shag, Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula, Otago NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f2.8, ISO 400, f3.2, 1/4000
Spotted Shag, Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula, Otago NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f2.8, ISO 400, f4.5, 1/1250
Red-billed Gull, Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula, Otago NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f2.8, ISO 400, f4.5, 1/2000

and, enhanced by the windy conditions, Northern Royal Albatross flying around the cliffs. The first one seen was fair way out to sea

Northern Royal Albatross, Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f2.8, ISO 400, f4.5, 1/5000

but within another hour, we'd seen several others flying overhead and closer to the cliffs.

Northern Royal Albatross, Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f2.8, ISO 400, f4.5, 1/8000
Northern Royal Albatross, Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f2.8, ISO 400, f4.5, 1/2000
Northern Royal Albatross, Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f2.8, ISO 400, f4.0, 1/2000
Northern Royal Albatross, Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f2.8, ISO 400, f4.0, 1/8000

(I have been asked by several people about cameras, lenses and settings so I will include these in photo captions from now on...or at least when I remember)

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