A2 - 594mm x 420mm - $395.00 - Edition Size 30
Returning home from Great Barrier we came across this pair of North Island Little Shearwater five miles south of the Poor Knights on an oily calm November morning.
According to NZ birds online, North Island Little Shearwater are (not unsurprisingly) the smallest of the shearwaters and their population numbers just 10,000 pairs. They’re winter breeders with eggs laid in a burrow between July and August. Their young leave the nest between November and December.
I watched a shearwater bullyboy in action once. We’d come across a school of baitfish driven to the surface and the birds were feeding madly on them. The school went down and a big shearwater (BS) turned his attention to a smaller shearwater (SS) chasing it mercilessly, inches from its tail. It was like a WWI dogfight. At the top of a steep upward climb, the SS ejected a surprisingly big fish, the BS snaffled it in mid air and resumed the chase. The SS coughed up another two fish and both times the same result, BS caught them expertly before they hit the water. After the third fish both birds landed, the SS no doubt exhausted and wondering what a bird had to do to get an honest feed. The action stopped so abuptly afterthe third fish I was left wondering did the BS know how many fish the SS had caught?