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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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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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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