Jeff Clarke Ecology

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Updates and photos from around the world on my travels both through pleasure and work

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Having spent almost a month exploring just a small part of New Zealands natural wealth it was time to head for home. However the final fling involved an early morning ferry ride across the Cook Strait and one more chance to enjoy those dainty Fairy Prions. Around 6.30am in the morning we departed the small town of Picton and headed up the Malborough Sounds. Many birds were evident as we steamed along including Fluttering Shearwaters and a few Little Blue Penguin. Before long we were clearing North Island and ploughing a furrow through a thick picket line of prions. Almost all the way to Wellington we were entertained royally by these delightful and fragile looking tubenoses. The calm and sunny conditions allowed me to reel of hundreds of ...
©Jeff Clarke 2013
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Duskies {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/duskydolphins]} Swimming with the Hector's Dolphins in Akaroa had been truly euphoric, so I was keen to repeat the exercise with the famous Dusky Dolphins of Kaikoura. Adele and I joined an early morning excursion with Dolphin Encounter and before long we had found a large pod of Duskies. We plunged into a 1000ft of water, though as I was snorkeling without weights I could barely get more than a few feet below the surface due to the buoyancy of my wetsuit. Before long I was engulfed by dolphins. This was one of their first big pods of the year with over 300 dolphins around us. Barely a few seconds would go by when one or more were not fizzing around you, clicking and whistling as they went...
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The Alpine Parrot {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/arthurspass]} Kaikoura is four hours from Arthur's Pass. When you have journeyed over 20,000 miles that's not far too travel to enjoy a long held ambition. Every naturalist will recognise that urge to see for yourself those creatures that you have read about, or maybe watched on television. Arthur's Pass is home to one of those much-coveted animals. Not only that but this thing has charisma, a touch of devilment and high intelligence. It is none other than that high altitude parrot the Kea. Kea's have a beak like a tin-opener and a brain like a mensa candidate. A lethal combination for the unwary. This parrot likes to play and one of its favourite games is dismantling bits of vis...
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Albatross Central: Kaikoura {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/kaikouraalbatrosses]} After a lively crossing of the Cook Strait on the Interislander Ferry Service we headed south along the coastal highway towards our destination of Kaikoura, it was a scenic trip and as we approached the town we could see roaring seas and white spume everywhere. We pulled into a layby and to enjoy the cavalcade of seabirds battling the storm. Over the coming days we were to fall in love with this place. So taken with it were we that both wanted to live there. We were also lucky to join two of the best natural history tour companies we have ever experienced. Firstly Whale Watch Kiakoura through which we had memorable encounters with the local Sperm W...
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Kapiti Island Overnighter {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/kapiti]} After an eventful landing at Auckland on our return to NZ, we connected to Wellington in preparation for our much anticpated stay on one of New Zealand's premier nature reserve's Kapiti Island. We arrived on the island where we were greeted by the Department of Conservation staff. Kapiti is famous for its variety of native bird species, several of which have been introduced as a last ditch stand insurance against extinction, on this 'land predator-free' haven. Almost immediately ashore we came across one of New Zealands, almost mythical, flightless birds, in the shape of the world's largest member of the Rallidae. Takahē were assumed to be extinct but were redisc...
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