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Where's Jonny? Care to dine with me? You would think that 11 years of daily food tasting for a living might put me off?......au contraire! Chomp away with me across 6 continents. Seduced like a bloodhound to the scent of good food, I anticipate the misty waft of steaming broths, the satisfying crunch of mudbugs and the vibrant aroma of freshly pulverised lemongrass. Buon appetito

My itch to Twitch

NEW ZEALAND | Tuesday, 24 July 2007 | Views [890]

An Abatross - honestly

An Abatross - honestly

Trying to shoot a partridge using a shotgun is tricky business - shooting an Albatross with a camera is even more challenging.

I'm gaining a lot of satisfaction photographing wild birds - even though I don't get a tasty dinner at the end. Colourful Lorikeets have captured my attention in Australia, Keas (New Zealand Mountain Parrots) have posed on cars for me in the Southern Alps. Black Kites have teased my lens weaving amongst Hong Kongs skyscrapers whilst Penguins in Cape Town have been a treat to shoot.

Today, I watched in awe as the largest (flighted) bird in the world soared silently above me like a glider.

The Royal Albatross is a remarkable and rare sight and although not the prettiest of birds on the ground, its enrapturing in the air.

Its distinctive wings of astranomical length easily distinguish it from other seabirds. Head-on, the wings, longer than the biggest of eagles droop down - such is their enormity. Although the wings are L-shaped its no clearly learner in the air.

An Albatross needs strong winds to fly (which was luckily the case for us) and once airborne it twists itself vertically like some military jet avoiding missile fire.

We were very lucky to see even one as the adults had gone to sea scouring the ocean for food for their new chicks. They go out for 3-4 days at a time.

I pause to consider the amazing feat of flying without rest for several days. Maria stands next to me complaining about the cold and yawning repeatedly. To be fair, we'd stood in the same windy spot for 2 hours.

I discover that we're at the only mainland colony of Royal Albatross in the world. Its part of the Otago peninsular and 1 hours scenic drive from the town of Dunedin.

(Dun-ee-din) couldn't be more Scottish if it tried. The main street (Princes Street) has a statue to Robbie Burns (no less) and everybody wears tartan. Its the perfect place to spot wildlife including the very rarely spotted haggis.

Back to twitching and after standing in a cold wind on the cliffs we wander to the warmth of the research centre.

Theres a photo of Prince Charles in the foyer with an Albatross mother and chick. Inside I watch live web cams of the chicks and their progress. There's interactive displays and lifesize models of the birds.

As Maria entered the observatory she yawned once again, this time more loudly. A binocular weilding older couple turn around to show their displeasure.

"ITS JUST A BLOODY BIG SEAGULL" she announced, "I'M BORED"

She'd had enough of bird watching for one day.

Maria never was a Twitcher.

Tags: The Great Outdoors

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