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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White On {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/whitebutterflies]} Having just returned from my latest tour of the Pyrenees in partnership with Teresa Farino of Iberian Widlife Tours I was struck by the number of 'white' butterfly species we had seen. It is a very late spring in that part of Spain, nearly a month behind normal. Often this tour would be dominated by fritillaries and various Lycaenid butterflies; this year many of those species had not yet emerged, but the abundance of White butterflies provided some compensation. The star of the show was the Peak White (Check out this image from Teresa), we connected with at least two specimens on top of Tossa d'Alp, but this was amply backed up by Orange-tips (surely one of the lovelie...
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In Pursuit of Prions (Part 8) Tasman Sea 2 {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/tasmanreturn]} On the first day of our return leg to Sydney I awoke to a day of dense sea fog. Today was not going to be one of memorable sighting and stunning photography. It persisted most of the day but latterly we managed a few hours watching in poor light when we eked out all too distant views of a pod of Striped Dolphins and variety of petrels and shearwaters, including White-headed Petrel. Our final day at sea proved more successful. The light was excellent, but the sea was definitely lumpy and though we had plenty of bird activity few birds came close enough for decent record photographs. The cetacean highlight was a pod of female Sperm Whales,...
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In Pursuit of Prions (Part 7) Napier to Bay of Islands {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/northisland]} After a brief non-wildlife interlude in Wellington our next landfall was Napier. From there we headed to Cape Kidnappers to take in the drama and aroma of the Australasian Gannet colony. We travelled out with Gannet Safaris Overland literally to the doorstep of the cliff top colony. Our tour was just a little late in the day to get the best out of the beautiful sunlight, for photography purposes, but it was enjoyable nonetheless and over far too soon. Though one misguided lady on our tour could be heard complaining with all seriousness that she had not seen any kidnappers! Despite the time restrictions Adele and I had fired off a ve...
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In Pursuit of Prions (Part 6) - Akaroa {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/akaroa]} We awoke to a glorious blue sky and the majestic view of the Bank's Peninsula. The hum of mechanical machinery testified to the activity involved in lowering the ship's tenders, which we boarded shortly after breakfast to make landfall at the delightful town of Akaroa. We were booked to travel back out with Black Cat Cruises to swim with Hector's Dolphin's but with time to explore we investigated some nearby parkland and native scrub. What was to become the familiar sound of native Bellbird's greeted our ears, this was periodically overlain by the sibilant lilting of Grey Warblers, we managed some reasonable views of both species and a few record pho...
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In Pursuit of Prions (Part 5) - Otago {yoogallery src=[/images/stories/blog/otago]}As we sailed towards Dunedin past the Otago peninsula nesting colonies of Stewart Island Shags could be seen on the headland. Shortly after Docking we joined the Monarch Wildlife Cruises and headed for a rendezvous with New Zealand Fur Seals. We were soon enjoying their rather pungent presence, with bulls, yearlings and mothers with new pups all present. As a big bonus were were also entertained by a female Hooker's Sea Lion that was patrolling the edges of the seal colony. The fur seals I'm sure were less enamoured of her presence as she was almost certainly there to predate a seal pup. We moved around the headland to view the Northern Royal Albatrosses whic...
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