Shelly Bay is not just a creative haven for artists; commuting to the old military base every morning is also a world expert in albatrosses.
Ornithologist Christopher Robertson’s quiet, shelf-lined office, packed with decades’ worth of projects and research papers, is a far cry from some of his previous workplaces. One of only a handful of people to have ever camped on the Bounty Islands, a remote, rocky archipelago located 800km south-east of the South Island, Robertson has endured many inhospitable climates in the name of bird research.
Having started his career at Wildlife Service, then as a scientist at the Department of Conservation, Robertson managed Otago’s successful Taiaroa Head albatross colony for several years and was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for Services to Ornithology in 2005. Now in his late 70s, Robertson’s dedication to the study of rare and native birds hasn’t waned, and he can often be seen at the local cafe enjoying a ‘Bomb’ (his self-coined name for a four-shot espresso) to kickstart his workday.