Posted by: Frame To Frame - Bob and Jean | December 23, 2016

Australasian Gannets in New Zealand

Australasian Gannets at the Muriwai Gannet Colony

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Bob and I had a long list of sights to see in New Zealand and first up was the gannet colony at Muriwai Regional Park just outside of Auckland.  About an hour’s drive north of Lone Kauri Lodge where we were staying on the North Island, it made for the perfect day trip.  Over 2,000 Australasian Gannets make up the colony at Muriwai, which is one of only three mainland gannet colonies in New Zealand.

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As we drove along Waitea Road in the direction of the gannet colony, we got our first glimpses of Otakamiro Point and Motutara Island, the two main sites where the Australasian Gannets congregate in Muriwai Regional Park.

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Using the Takapuku Refuge Walk from the parking lot brought us first to an information board where a view was also afforded of the little island, Oaia, a little further offshore.  It was on this whale-shaped isle that the Muriwai Gannet colony first established itself in the early 1900s.

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The nice thing about the Australasian Gannet colony at Muriwai is that it is easily accessible, and a well-positioned, spacious viewing platform is constructed right above the main colony.  This vantage point lets observers appreciate how exacting the Gannets are when constructing their nests.  Equally spaced so there is room for two adult Gannets and one chick at a nest, and far enough away from the next nest to avoid being pecked by one’s neighbour, the overall effect is quite symmetrical and exhibits mathematical precision.

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Just below my spot at the railing, this Australasian Gannet showed signs of activity, so I hoped to get a glimpse of an egg.  It was early November, and most eggs are laid between September and December, but there was no telling which Gannet was presently incubating an egg.  Gannets only lay one egg each breeding season, and then share with their mate responsibility for incubating the egg over the course of about 44 days.

Complete blog post at:

Australasian Gannets at the Muriwai Gannet Colony

 


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