Zegrahm Expeditions’ New Zealand to New Guinea 20th Anniversary voyage got off to a resounding start thanks to the cooperation of a bird that was considered extinct for over 100 years.
Battling near-gale force winds, 18 intrepid birders, led by Peter Harrison, boarded two small boats and spent seven hours in bumpy and lumpy seas that sent waves crashing over the small vessels as they headed for Little Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf, north of Auckland.
After 1.5 hours of steaming, the chum was laid. Within minutes, two New Zealand storm petrels were on the slick and, despite sea sickness, the Zegrahm travelers were ecstatic at their discovery with over 4,000 images taken of this species.
Our lead guides for the day, Brent Stephenson and “Sav” Saville were the original discoverers of this long-lost species in 2003. These days it is a now a modern birding legend—a story of a bird that was last collected in 1895 and which remained undiscovered until recently, literally a “Back from the Dead” species.
Without doubt, a fitting start to our anniversary expedition!