As we head into the busy Christmas period, things have been very exciting here at Taiaroa Head as we head into the 2021/2022 season with the Northern Royals! So far this season, 33 out of 36 eggs are fertile, which means there is over a 90% success rate.
The earliest egg was laid by ROB (Red, Orange, Blue colour bands) and his partner WYO (White, Yellow, Orange bands), and it has just reached the halfway point in the incubation. The pair have been switching over regularly, showing that they’re both very dotting parents. WO and GO along with three other pairs are on view from our Richdale Observatory, and we are all looking forward to seeing them raise their chicks. Viewing has certainly been good, especially in the later afternoon and evening with lots of flying activity.
Regarding other famous birds, Toroa (the 500th chick fledged from the headland) and is partner are also on the headland, along with Buttons (Grandma’s chick). What a privilege to have these special individuals back with us for another season!
Make sure to keep tuning into the Royal Cam, as last week the camera was moved to OGK and YRK’s nest, the same couple who raised Atawhai back in 2020. This pair is also on view from our Observatory! These two lovebirds have been together for the last 15 years, and this is their eighth breeding attempt.
In other news, the red-billed gulls have also been extremely busy laying eggs and raising their chicks, which can be seen all throughout our car park and up the hill. A few pairs of Royal Spoonbills are making their nests in vegetation on the cliffs, and the Otago Shags have chicks which are about to fledge! In the water surrounding Taiaroa Head, an abundance of New Zealand Fur Seals have been spotted frolicking about, along with the resident Orca swimming past the harbour mouth last weekend! More on them here: https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/orca-siblings%E2%80%99-visits-bringing-joy-worker. A few of the massive New Zealand Sea Lions have been popping in and out around Taiaroa too.
As Christmas shopping fast approaches, make sure you take some time out to pop into our gift shop, or browse the shop online here: https://shopalbatross.org.nz/ We’ve got a multitude of stocking fillers and larger gifts alike, as well as some beautiful Christmas cards from local artists in Ōtepoti and Aotearoa.
We certainly look forward to seeing visitors from all over the country soon, as whanau and friends can soon travel down from Auckland and other areas.
Merry Christmas / Meri Kirihimete from the team out at the Royal Albatross Centre!