Posts written by Colin Miskelly

Antarctic blog #5 – Running on thick ice

  • An inglorious end to the day. A Sno-Cat extracts our van from soft snow. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Two marathon runners grab a snack and drink at Checkpoint 1. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • An ANI staff member completes the first lap of the marathon. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • The 2014 Antarctic Ice Marathon runners leave the start line. Image: Colin Miskelly

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly visited Antarctica during November-December 2014 as a guest lecturer for Adventure Network International (ANI). This is the fifth in a series of blogs based on his experiences in Antarctica, and particularly at the Gould Bay emperor penguin colony in the southern Weddell Sea. Union Glacier camp was bulging… Read more »

A box of fluffy birds – moving fairy prions from Takapourewa / Stephens Island to Mana Island

  • An aerial view of the artificial burrows (with wooden lids, at right of image) waiting to receive the 100 chicks on Mana Island. The caravan is used as shelter while feeding the chicks, with the team of FOMI volunteer feeders staying in accommodation about a kilometre away. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Fifty boxes containing 100 fairy prion chicks fill the cargo hold of the BK helicopter. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Colin Miskelly (left) and FOMI committee member and project manager Brian Bell weigh a fairy prion chick while making the final selection of which chicks to move. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A tuatara dropping on Takapourewa containing the webbed foot of a fairy prion chick. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly recently led a team that visited Takapourewa / Stephens Island Nature Reserve, to select and gather up 100 fairy prion chicks to move to Mana Island near Wellington. This is the first in a series of blogs about the project and the wildlife of Takapourewa. Over the past… Read more »

Antarctic blog #4 – The southernmost penguin colony

  • Adelie penguins nesting at Cape Royds, with Shackleton's hut at the lower left. Image courtesy of Peter Carey
  • Tourists visiting the southernmost penguin colony on the planet - the emperor penguin colony at Gould Bay. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Emperor penguins breeding on sea-ice at Gould Bay, south-eastern Weddell Sea. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Cape Crozier emperor penguin colony. Image courtesy of Gerald Kooyman

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly visited Antarctica during November-December 2014 as a guest lecturer for Adventure Network International (ANI). This is the fourth in a series of blogs based on his experiences in Antarctica, and particularly at the Gould Bay emperor penguin colony in the southern Weddell Sea. It is a long-established Antarctic… Read more »

Antarctic blog #3 – Camping with emperors

  • Reflection on an iceberg soiree. Staff and guests are reflected in the author's snow goggles. Image courtesy of Susan Ellcome
  • Emperor penguin chicks huddle during the cold of 'night', Gould Bay, November 2014. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • An emperor penguin broods its chick, Gould Bay, November 2014. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Part of the Gould Bay emperor penguin colony, November 2014. Image: Colin Miskelly

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly visited Antarctica during November-December 2014 as a guest lecturer for Adventure Network International (ANI). This is the third in a series of blogs based on his experiences in Antarctica, and particularly at the Gould Bay emperor penguin colony in the southern Weddell Sea. Emperor penguins are penguins of… Read more »

Antarctic blog #2 – Camping at 79 degrees south

  • Making the most of the cold environment. ANI staff and guests socialise in the snow cave. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Sublime drying conditions. The clothesline at Union Glacier. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • The two main communal dining and meeting tents at Union Glacier. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Separate functions - inside a men's loo at Union Glacier. Image: Colin Miskelly

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly visited Antarctica during November-December 2014 as a guest lecturer for Adventure Network International (ANI). This is the second in a series of blogs based on his experiences in Antarctica, and particularly at the Gould Bay emperor penguin colony in the southern Weddell Sea. At the height of summer… Read more »

Antarctic blog #1 – Flying south

  • On the ground - or at least ice. The Ilyushin-76 on the Union Glacier blue-ice runway. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Ilyushin-76 jet about to land on Union Glacier. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • The Ilyushin cabin video screen showing sea-ice on the left and our southward progress near the base of the Antarctic Peninsula on the right. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • ANI staff try to make themselves comfortable alongside cargo inside the Ilyushin jet. Image: Colin Miskelly

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly visited Antarctica during November-December 2014 as a guest lecturer for Adventure Network International (ANI). Colin reached Antarctica via Punta Arenas in southern Chile. This is the first in a series of blogs based on his experiences in Antarctica, and particularly at the Gould Bay emperor penguin colony in… Read more »

Seasonality in birds and birdwatchers

  • Shining cuckoo graph
  • Shining cuckoos are often secretive, but are unmistakeable when seen well. Image: Duncan Watson, New Zealand Birds Online
  • An adult grey warbler (left) feeds a recently fledged shining cuckoo chick. Image: Malcolm Pullman, New Zealand Birds Online
  • An adult shining cuckoo shows its iridescent dorsal plumage. Image: Nathan Hill, New Zealand Birds Online

One of the characteristic sounds of spring in New Zealand is the clear, upward-slurred whistle of the shining cuckoo. Along with its long-tailed cousin, the two cuckoos are the only New Zealand forest birds that migrate away from New Zealand after breeding. This is in sharp contrast to temperate countries in Europe, Asia and North… Read more »

New Zealand’s best bird photographer?

  • A vagrant Japanese snipe photographed at Lake Rotokaeo, Hamilton. Image: Neil Fitzgerald, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Northern-Bullers-Mollymawk-flight
  • The holotype of Pelagornis miocaenus (a fossil seabird) from Armagnac, France, held in the Paris Museum. There is a single specimen referred to this species from North Canterbury. Image: Alan Tennyson, New Zealand Birds Online
  • The red-kneed dotterel has been seen once in New Zealand. This adult was photographed at the Werribee sewage treatment works in Victoria, Australia. Image: Sonja Ross, New Zealand Birds Online

Three hundred photographers (and two painters) have contributed images to the New Zealand Birds Online website, which was launched in June 2013. Each of the 461 bird species on the website has its own page, with one image selected as the ‘master’ image, and additional images presented as a gallery of thumbnails that can be… Read more »