Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day trip to the Otago Peninsula (finally)

Even though we've been living in New Zealand for over a year, everyday groceries are shockingly expensive here and we haven't really been able to afford any luxuries like leaving town. With Morgan and Josh in town, we were able to borrow a car from our labmate Tsai and split the gas (for an hour and a half of driving, it was about 45 bucks or so to fill back up; that's 30 cents gone every minute - there's a reason Sarah and I won't be buying a car while we're down here!). So, we picked up the car from Tsai, hopped in, and headed out to the Otago Peninsula for a day to go try and see pinnipeds, penguins, and albatross.

We saw some pukekos in a field past Portobello, which is one of my wife's favorite birds - they are really pretty, and a bit awkward in proportion that gives them some real character.

We saw some oystercatchers down at Pilot Beach, which at dusk is a good spot to try and see little blue penguins.

At Pilot beach there was also a nice paradise duck fly by.

A New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri). I had seen these on a previous field trip to Wangaloa.

Some more fur seals at Pilot Beach.

Up the hill at Taiaroa Head, a single cormorant flies out to sea.

A spotted shag (a first for me) flies low over the Pacific.

A spotted shag unsuccessfully tries to land on a vertical face at Taiaroa Head.

These two NZ sea lions (Phocarctos hookeri) battled for about a half hour when we got to Sandfly Bay.

Sea lion combat at the east end of Sandfly Bay.

A lone sea lion emerges from the surf.

The two subadult males continue to fight (they must have raging testosterone levels).

An old adult sea lion growls at a younger male.

The old male had an impressive yawn.

The view east along the harbor just after sunset.

The view west towards Dunedin from the peninsula just after sunset.


Bewildermunster said...
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Bewildermunster said...

Oops, I meant to say that I love the double chin on the sea lion!
And the pictures of the sea lions on the beach.