A Trip to Albatross, Hunter & Three Hummock Islands

On top of the cliffs, Albatross Island

Albatross Island is not an easy place to land, there are steep cliffs on all sides. These have afforded the Albatross some protection. They nest on the top of the highest cliffs.The island once boasted over 12 000 seals but these were less fortunate.

Mick about to land, Albatross Island

Combined with frequent swells, the only place to land is on the northern end. Our club has visited the island three times, in 1988, 1990 and 1996. In 1990 Mick Verrier and I found the conditions for landing in the gulch ideal. It's a case of pulling alongside rocks and climbing out quickly.

The Gulch, Albatross Island

The centre of the island is cut two ways, a deep gulch runs through the short axis and a cave runs through the long axis. When climbing through the caves you have to traverse the gulch which has cut the caves in two.

Inside the cave, Albatross Island

The cave is usually occupied by a few Albatross that have become trapped. It was in this cave that early sealers slaughtered 1000's of Albatross in the 1870's.

Laurie rescuing an Albatross

Laurie rescued some of the birds that had landed in the deep gulch. The birds try to fly out over the rugged, steep cliffs but often crash into the rocks because there are no air currents to give them lift.

Thousands of Shy Albatross

The top of the island is crowded with over one thousand nesting pairs. These numbers are slowly increasing. In the 1870's these birds were slaughtered for their feathers, which sold for 9c per lb.

Close up, Shy Albatross

The Shy Albatross has a rather aloof and majestic appearance.They are quite at ease with humans allowing you to approach within a few metres, even while on the ground.

Shy Albatross, grooming

Shy Albatross pair for life. They spend alot of time grooming and preening their mate. Both of these birds have been banded by National Parks.

Aggressive behaviour, Shy Albatross

It is quite moving to watch a breeding pair "beaking". They seem to stroke their beaks over a partners beak in a slow, meaningful way. It's hard to believe they aren't showing real affection for each other.

Shy Albatross,

Considering that there are over one thousand birds ocupying a small space , there is very little hostility and aggression. Only occasionally do birds gesture physically to warn others to stay away.

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