Our walk held no expectations, but many possibilities. Before long we were all spread out along the coastline, with guides at each end of the group and scattered throughout. Many species call Enderby Island home – hoiho/yellow eyed penguin, brown skua, giant petrels, light mantled sooty albatross, southern royal albatross, falcon/karearea, yellow and red-crowned kakariki, and Auckland Island variants of teal, snipe, tomtits, shags, pipits and dotterels, to name some the those that we encountered. As we meandered along, different groups encountered different wildlife sightings, sharing the experience with people nearby before them and the wildlife moved on. The variation and unpredictability of wildlife spotting made it more enjoyable and meant every encounter was treasured.
I was surprised to see a light brown fluffball of unknown species walking around near a small lake, before an adult skua landed nearby and fed that turned out to be its chick. While taking photos of the coastline an Auckland Island shag crested the cliff and quickly put the brakes on at the sight of four humans where there usually aren’t. We quickly took some photos of the nearby bird before it moved off. Occasional hoiho heads popped up from behind vegetation to keep an eye on us, always maintaining a large distance between human and penguin. Larger sea lion heads occasionally poked up from the tussock or megaherbs, even hundreds of metres away from the beaches where we thought we finally didn’t have to keep an eye out for them. Luckily these ones were usually females trying to avoid the large males, rather than playful pups or males trying to establish a territory.