Friday, 14 November 2014

My Seabird of the Year 2014 - Poor Knights star

I enjoyed snorkelling at the Poor Knights Island - a fabulous marine reserve with lots of underwater colour and life. But on the day the real star was the Buller's Shearwater, which put on an extraordinary feeding show.
Poor Knights Islands, seen through a haze of seabirds

Flocking in large numbers, the birds were taking advantage of krill and other small sea creatures that were being driven to the surface by larger fish.
In the foreground fish are driving up a feast for the birds

According to NZ Birds Online, Buller's Shearwaters only nest on the Poor Knights Islands. Their style of eating - sitting on the surface to eat what is driven up - also makes them vulnerable to fishing techniques. Lucky for them the Poor Knights is a Marine Reserve with no pests on the islands and the sanctuary extending out 800m from the islands. Of course they do fly further afield around New Zealand, and as well as being vulnerable to fishing, they are also affected by marine pollution - 156 were known to be killed by the Rena oil spill in 2011. After they have nested and raised their chicks, they fly north to the waters of North Pacific (Japan, USA) .

Buller's Shearwaters

Join me in voting for the Buller's Shearwater to bring attention to its vulnerability in the Seabird of the Year 2014 Competition.