Posts written by Colin Miskelly

A new bird for New Zealand – magpie-lark

  • Further images of the magpie-lark at Gorge Rover. Images courtesy of Robert Long
  • An adult male magpie-lark in flight – one of the most familiar and easy to recognise of all Australian birds. Image: Craig Greer, NZ Birds Online
  • An adult female magpie-lark photographed in Melbourne. Image: Sonja Ross, NZ Birds Online
  • The adult male magpie-lark perched on the roof of the Department of Conservation hut at Gorge River, 29 April 2008. Image: Robert Long

New bird species are added to the New Zealand list on average once every two years. Many of these are vagrants that have been blown (or flown) across the Tasman Sea, with recent examples including Australian reed warbler (2004), straw-necked ibis (2009), Pacific gull (2010) and dusky woodswallow (2014). However, few new arrivals have a… Read more »

8000 images on New Zealand Birds Online

  • Immature pomarine skua at sea off North Cape, March 2014.  Image: Les Feasey, NZ Birds Online
  • New Zealand's first buff-breasted sandpiper, Papakanui spit, Kaipara Harbour, March 2014.  Image: Ian Southey, NZ Birds Online
  • Stewart Island kiwi, March 2015.  Image: Glenda Rees, NZ Birds Online
  • Southern black-backed gull nest containing an egg and young chick, Awarua Bay, January 2015. Image: Glenda Rees, NZ Birds Online

The Te Papa-hosted website New Zealand Birds Online has passed a significant milestone, with the 8000th image loaded late on 29 March. Most of the images on the website have been sourced from amateur or semi-professional photographers, who have generously supported the project from the outset. At the time of the launch in June 2013,… Read more »

Life through a burrowscope lens (Part 5) – subterranean Takapourewa / Stephens Island

  • A sooty shearwater broods its newly-hatched chick inside its burrow on Takapourewa, as viewed through a burrowscope, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A fairy prion on the colony surface at night on Takapourewa. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A tuatara inside a burrow on Takapourewa, as viewed through a burrowscope, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A fully-grown fairy prion inside its burrow on Takapourewa, as viewed through a burrowscope, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly

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 sixth (and last) in a series of blogs about the project and the wildlife of Takapourewa. As… Read more »

Birds and mammals of Takapourewa / Stephens Island

  • A one-year-old male New Zealand falcon, Takapourewa, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A young fairy prion prepares for its first flight, Takapourewa, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • One of the few surviving specimens of Lyall's wre, Takapourewa, c.1894. Image: Te Papa
  • A bull New Zealand fur seal, Takapourewa, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly

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 fifth in a series of blogs about the project and the wildlife of Takapourewa. Entering the forest… Read more »

Insects of Takapourewa / Stephens Island

  • A ngaio weevil nibbles on a ngaio leaf at night on Takapourewa, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A pair of Wellington tree weta on Takapourewa, January 2015 (male on left). Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A female Cook Strait giant weta on Takapourewa, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Takapourewa / Stephens Island from the north, with the lighthouse in the foreground. January 2015. 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 fourth in a series of blogs about the project and the wildlife of Takapourewa. Takapourewa holds a… Read more »

A box of fluffy birds – the sequel. Fairy prion chicks fly from Mana Island

  • A fairy prion chick waits its turn in the feeding queue on Mana Island. Image courtesy of David Cornick
  • A fairy prion at sea. The chicks that flew from Mana Island in January-February 2015 are not expected back on land until at least 2018. Image: Les Feasey, NZ Birds Online
  • A fairy prion chick being hand-fed on Mana Island. Image courtesy of David Cornick
  • The burrow installation team hard at work, under the supervision of Helen Gummer (lower right), Mana Island, July 2014. Image courtesy of David Cornick

Fairy prions are small burrow-nesting seabirds that breed in large colonies on many islands around New Zealand. The largest colony (of about 1.8 million pairs) is on Takapourewa / Stephens Island in the western approaches to Cook Strait. As part of a project to restore the ecology of Mana Island (off the Wellington west coast),… Read more »

Antarctic blog #8 – The end of the world

  • The author reflected in the ceremonial South Pole marker. The marker is partially surrounded by the flags of the 12 original signatory nations to the Antarctic Treaty. The New Zealand flag is to my left. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, situated alongside the Geographic South Pole. US Antarctic Research Program staff gave us a brief tour of the base and described some of the research underway there. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Previous years' South Pole markers housed inside the USARP Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • The author standing beside the 2014 Geographic South Pole marker. 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 final blog in a series based on his experiences in Antarctica, and particularly at the Gould Bay emperor penguin colony in the southern Weddell Sea. For many people, Antarctica and the… Read more »

Antarctic blog #7 – Wildlife of Gould Bay

  • Three emperor penguin chicks go exploring. Gould Bay, December 2014. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • An adult Adelie penguin walking over sea-ice at Gould Bay, December 2014. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A snow petrel flies over Gould Bay, November 2014. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A Weddell seal lies on the ice at Gould Bay, December 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 seventh 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. The main attraction at Gould… Read more »