Friday, 29 April 2011

Back Catalogue: White-necked Petrel

Back to New Zealand... by Bob Flood

Bryan Thomas and I were back in New Zealand in March 2008, five years after the New Zealand Storm-petrel rediscovery. We simply had to charter out Brett Rathe and the MV Assassin for an old times sake pelagic trip into the Hauraki Gulf, to meet up with our old chums the New Zealand Storm-petrel. Apart from the trip down memory lane, I also wanted to watch New Zealand Storm-petrels knowing that they were New Zealand Storm-petrels!

Brett worked his magic and we got our wish with several of the storm-petrels coming to chum. I remember watching these enigmatic little sea sprites thinking how obviously unique they looked. What a contrast to November 2003. Put yourself in our shoes back in 2003 aboard MV Assassin watching unidentified black-and-white storm-petrels. Imagine the mental agony that we experienced in the evening, after checking Bryan’s photos, trying to come to terms with the fact that we had seen about 20 individuals of an extinct species. And this was in the heavily watched and extensively researched Hauraki Gulf! How could these storm-petrels have been missed? Would anyone believe us? What if they were never seen again?

Anyway, we had another great day out with Brett. Steve Howell joined us. I really enjoyed watching the storm-petrels, but a White-necked Petrel probably just about stole the show.