Friday, February 18, 2011

I seen the little chick

Otago Daily Times photograph: Linda Robertson

The ODT headline says it: Female pairing raising chick (9 Feb 2011).

This I gotta see, I thought. Like many a local, I rarely stump up actual money to visit the tourist attraction at the albatross colony I live only minutes away from.

But lesbian albatrosses raising a family, now that is something worth a pilgrimage. You go, sisters!!

So I wandered over to the Royal Albatross Colony, Pukerua, Otago Peninsula and paid my 30 bucks in hopes of catching a glimpse of one of the couple of dozen or so chicks that have been born in recent weeks, in one of the best breeding seasons ever at Taiaroa Head.

At least three chicks are on nests within easy viewing of the observation post. This is the "guarding" time, when the adult pretty much obscures the chick except when feeding or when the mate arrives from foraging out at sea, to take over the babysitting duty.

Luckily, one of the chicks was easily visible, fluffy adorable little thing. Well worth the trouble and effort.

And if I didn't already live there in wonderland, I'd have been absolutely blown away by all the other attractions I see on a daily basis - the views, the other birds and wildlife. Well, I'm not immune to that glory, I hope I'll never be blasé about that. But the shaggy baby albatross being sheltered by its impressively giant parent was really something to see. Lovely.

(Our proximity to such rare and wonderful wildlife is one of the reasons the Tabby Household is currently Tabby-less. Will have to wait for a return to the city before we get another cat. Have to admit, they're just murderers. It's a paradox for a cat-and-bird lover.)


Vanda Symon said...

We recently went on the Monarch Wildlife Cruise, which was fantastic. Had the breath-catching experience of having an albatross glide twenty feet directly over our heads!

The Paradoxical Cat said...

Yep, it is heart stopping to get so close. One flew over us just as we were walking down the path from the lookout. Heard lots of exclamations in a range of foreign languages from the tourists! (Amazing, beautiful, wow, I suppose they were saying.) On a windy day if you go to Taiaroa you're likely to have the albatrosses gliding on the air currents very close to the Lover's Leap cliffs. Can get some great photos.

The Paradoxical Cat said...

Thanks for reminding me of the harbour cruise, Vanda. I did it years ago when I first came to Dunedin. It was amazing. Must do it again.

Vanda Symon said...

It is well worth it!