Birding Down Under

The 'ultimate' seabird trip in the Southern Ocean

At a Glance

FOCUS:

Bird & Wildlife Cruise: seabirds, island endemics, whales and dolphins and remote subantarctic islands of New Zealand and Australia.

WHERE:

Invercargill - Snares Islands - Auckland Islands - Macquairie Island - Campbell Island - Antipodes Islands - Bounty Islands - Chatham Islands - Dunedin.

SAMPLE WILDLIFE:

A veritable seabird and island endemic extravaganza.

Numerous species of albatrosses, petrels, penguins, diving-petrels, storm-petrels, shearwaters and cormorants including three species of endemic penguins - Snares Crested, Erect-crested and Royal and 7+ endemic cormorants.
'Landbird' possibilities including Auckland Island Flightless Teal, Campbell Island Flightless Teal, Shore Plover, Subantarctic Snipe, Antipodes Parakeet and Chatham Pigeon.

Some fantastic marine mammals are also possible including Humpback, Whale, Sperm Whale, Antarctic Minke Whale, Orca, Dusky Dolphin, Hourglass Dolphin, Southern Right Whale Dolphin, Gray's Beaked Whale, Strap-toothed Beaked Whale, as well as Hooker's Sea-lion, New Zealand Fur Seal and Southern Elephant Seal.

Dates and Prices:

Dates: TBC

Leader: ship’s expedition team

Prices: TBC

Although New Zealand is currently on the UK government's "green list", the country's borders are closed to foreigners so we do not recommend booking until this situation has changed.

  • Royal Penguin, Macquarie Island
  • King Penguin, Macquarie Island
  • Royal Penguin, Macquarie Island
  • Southern Elephant Seal, Macquarie Island
  • New Zealand Pipit, Enderby Island
  • Yellow-eyed Penguin, Enderby Island
  • Yellow-eyed Penguin, Enderby Island
  • New Zealand Falcon, Enderby Island
  • Carnley Harbour, Auckland Islands
  • Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Southern Ocean
  • Auckland Shag, Enderby Island
  • Northern Giant Petrel, Southern Ocean
  • Auckland Island Flightless Teal, Endeby Island
  • Subantarctic Snipe, Enderby Island
  • Bulbinella, Enderby Island
  • Snares Tomtit, Snares Islands
  • Subantarctic Snipe, Enderby Island
  • Antarctic Tern, Snares Islands
  • Snares (Crested) Penguin, Snares Islands
  • Antipodes Parakeet, Antipodes Island
  • Wandering Alabtross, Southern Ocean
  • Campbell Island Flightless Teal, Campbell Island
  • Snares Crested Penguins, Snares Island
  • Double-banded Plover, Enderby Island
  • Macquarie Shag, Macquarie Island
  • Campbell Islands Shag, Campbell Island
  • Erect-crested Penguin, Antipodes Island
  • Royal Penguins, Macquarie Island
  • Subantarctic Snipe, Enderby Island
  • Salvin's Albatross, Southern Ocean

Tour overview

For birders and island enthusiasts, the ice-strengthened Spirit of Enderby offers several voyages between November and January to the rarely visited Subantarctic islands of New Zealand and Australia.  The itinerary discussed here is ‘Birding Down Under’, which is the most comprehensive trip as it visits all the islands of interest to birdwatchers. Indeed, we would deem this to be an essential WildWings pelagic, as the shorter voyages offered by the same vessel or other operators provide only a limited snapshot and miss many key species.

Over 40 species of tubenoses can be expected and during daylight hours, there will barely be a moment at sea without petrels, prions or albatrosses being present.  The list of possibilities is staggering and includes a host of desirable species including three endemic penguins (Snares, Erect-crested and Royal), 7+ endemic cormorants, plus a host of albatrosses, petrels, prions and storm-petrels. Some of these, such as Magenta Petrel, are essentially unique to this expedition and this critically endangered species is now seen on almost every sailing.

Landings are made on many of the islands (as some are closed with only researchers allowed ashore) and this adds another dimension to the trip with some very special ‘land birds’ being found. On Auckland and Campbell Islands, for example, there are excellent chances of the flightless teal (different species on both islands) and Subantarctic Snipe. Several species of endemic parrots are also possible including the highly range restricted Antipodes Parakeet, whilst at the Chatham Islands, there are good chances of Shore Plover, Chatham Oystercatcher, Chatham Pigeon, Chatham Parakeet and Chatham Gerygone.

It is, however, the seabirds which are the main attraction for many people who join this trip and the list of albatrosses could include Snowy, Antipodean, Gibson’s, Southern Royal, Northern Royal, Light-mantled Sooty, Black-browed, Campbell, White-capped, Chatham, Salvin's, Grey-headed and Buller's and with King, Gentoo, Yellow-eyed, Eastern Rockhopper and Fiordland to add to the endemic penguins, it truly is an amazing experience.

Itinerary

Day 1: Invercargill

Day 2: Bluff and board ship

Day 3: Snares Island

Day 4: Auckland Islands - Enderby Island

Day 5: Auckland Islands - Carnley Harbour

Day 6: At Sea

Days 7-8: Macquarie Island

Day 9: At Sea

Day 10: Campbell Island

Day 11: At Sea

Day 12: Antipodes Islands

Day 13: Bounty Islands

Day 14: At Sea and Pyramid Rock (Chatham Islands)

Day 15: Chatham Island - Waitangi

Day 16: South East Island and Mangere Island

Days 17-18: At Sea

Day 19: Dunedin

NB: As applies to all expedition cruises, the exact itinerary will be subject to weather and local conditions. All landings are subject to government permissions.

Potential Seabirds (selected species only)

Antarctic Tern, Brown Skua, King Penguin, Gentoo Penguin, Yellow-eyed Penguin, Royal Penguin, Southern (Eastern) Rockhopper Penguin, Fiordland Penguin, Snares Penguin, Erect-crested Penguin, Wilson's Storm-petrel, Grey-backed Storm-petrel, Black-bellied Storm-petrel, Wandering Albatross, Antipodean Albatross, Gibson’s Albatross, Southern Royal Albatross, Northern Royal Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Campbell Albatross, White-capped Albatross, Chatham Albatross, Salvin's Albatross. Grey-headed Albatross, Buller's Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, Northern Giant Petrel, Cape Petrel, Blue Petrel, Broad-billed Prion, Antarctic Prion, Fairy Prion, Fulmar Prion, White-headed Petrel, Magenta Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel, Mottled Petrel, Cook’s Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Buller’s Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Subantarctic (Little) Shearwater, Common Diving Petrel, Pitt Island Shag, Bounty Shag, Chatham Shag, Otago Shag, Foveaux Shag, Auckland Shag, Campbell Shag, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Grey-backed Storm-petrel, White-faced Storm-petrel and Black-bellied Storm-Petrel.

Potential ‘Landbirds' (selected species only)

Auckland Island Flightless Teal, Campbell Island Flightless Teal, Chatham Pigeon, Chatham Oystercatcher, Double-banded Plover, Shore Plover, Subantarctic Snipe, New Zealand Falcon, Chatham Pigeon, Chatham Parakeet, Antipodes Parakeet, Red-crowned Parakeet, Reischek's Parakeet, Chatham Gerygone, (Snares) Tomtit, New Zealand (Snares) Fernbird and New Zealand Pipit.

Potential Cetaceans and Marine Mammals (selected species only)

Sperm Whale, Humpback Whale, Antarctic Minke Whale, Orca, Dusky Dolphin, Hourglass Dolphin, Southern Right Whale Dolphin,  Gray's Beaked Whale, Strap-toothed Beaked Whale, Southern Elephant Seal, Hooker's Sea-lion and New Zealand Fur Seal.