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Northern Royal Albatross, Little Penguin, Fur Seal Pups and Spotted Shag at Taiaroa Head

Taiaroa Head is at the far end of Otago Peninsula and is one of the best places to see Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi) flying. Photograph the flying birds on the northern cliffs, just outside the Royal Albatross Centre, where they nest in a protected area fenced to keep out predators such as the Australian Common Brushtail Possum, a major pest and rats. This magnificent bird is on the IUCN Red List as endangered, has an enormous wingspan about 2.7m to 3.05m. Other seabirds also nest on the northern cliffs.

It’s worth taking a tour of the Royal Albatross Centre home to around 25 of the worlds 6500-7000 breeding pairs. The tour consists of an introductory lecture about the Albatross and has access to the glass viewing room, unfortunately only one nest in view. The cost of the tour does ensure the breeding colony survives.

Another tour worth taking is the Natures Wonders a self-funded conservation establishment, which is a working sheep farm. We saw one Immature Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) in its rocky nest along with some Yellowed-eyed penguins on the beach, Fur Seals Pups and Spotted Shag.