Posts written by Susan Waugh

Penguin update – Wellington & Malborough news

  • Penguins from Wellington nest sites are caught at the beach and have loggers retrieved. Photo Susan Waugh. Copyright Te Papa.
  • Quarantine at DOC
  • Little penguin foraging track from Marlborough
  • Little penguin track Wellington

Since we blogged 2 weeks ago, the Te Papa team working on little penguins has started a second front of activity in Marlborough, based at Motuara Island in Queen Charlotte Sound. Almost all of the birds from the Wellington Harbour nests have had their tags retrieved, and are going to either locations within the harbour or… Read more »

Colossal New Addition to Te Papa’s Scientific Collections

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  • Powder Coated Cabinet
  • Jar and pail storage at Te Papa's collections facility. Photo: Rick Webber, Copyright Te Papa.
  • jars

Today we’ve been hearing about the most recent addition to Te Papa’s scientific collections, a new colossal squid Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni. We’re playing host to a dozen or so media representatives as well as our own live-streaming film crew, who are following intently the activity of five visiting squid scientists from AUT, led by Dr Kat… Read more »

Objets trouvés : Signs of humanity at Ohinau Island.

  • Locations in coromandel
  • A shard of glas, with one bevelled edge found at the site of the old light-house in the South of Ohinau Island. Photo: Susan Waugh. Copyright: Te Papa.
  • rabbit rather dead
  • Sharp, and apparently worked pieces of stone found on the shearwater colonies at Ohinau Island. Photos: Susan Waugh, Copyright, Te Papa.

Recent work on Ohinau Island, Coromandel reinforced for me how fine the boundary is between the sciences. We were working on the biology of shearwaters nesting at an important historical site for Ngati Hei, an iwi from the eastern Coromandel. The island has been inhabited in the past, and was an important food gathering site… Read more »

Flesh-footed Shearwater Surveys at Ohinau Island, Coromandel

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  • FFSW
  • Fishing vessel
  • GPS track of FFSW

Keeping track of our protected species populations and their distribution is one of the tasks of biologists, and this summer Te Papa scientists surveyed sites in the Mercury Islands group for seabird populations. Flesh-footed shearwaters Puffinus carneipes breed throughout northern New Zealand, with a total population size in New Zealand of about 10,000 to 15,000 pairs… Read more »

A Day in the Life of a Natural History Curator – the intern’s view!

  • Westland Petrel at the breeding colony near Punakaiki, Westland. Photo, Lara Shepherd.
  • This box contained the bones of a sea lion found at the Chatham Islands. Photo, Mathilde Meheut.
  • Mathilde helped to handle petrels during the deployment of GPS loggers. The logger is visible taped on to the birds back feathers with brown   sticky tape. Photo, Susan Waugh
  • A miniature GPS logger used by scientists to follow the movements of Westland Petrels at sea. Mathilde helped with note-taking and field work. Another specialist writing job for Te Papa! Photo, Susan Waugh.

I’m Mathilde Meheut, a French biology student travelling in New Zealand who had the chance to do some voluntary work at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. In this blog, I’ll tell you about some of the work I got involved in at Te Papa during a few weeks in June and July… Read more »

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 6. Terres Inconnues

  • Researchers and logistical support staff unload scientific equipment at the Base at the Crozet Islands in preparation for the field campaign of 2013. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.
  • The field accommodation at Pointe Basse albatross colony can house 6-8 researchers, and is well stocked with provisions to allow monitoring of the colony during ciritical periods throughout the year. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.
  • Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans tracks from Crozet Islands, tracked during our study in the incubation period, March 2013. The pink track is a female, the blue a male.
  • Betsy takes a rest in the albatross colony as a group of young wandering albatross display in the back-ground]. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.

Here at the Crozet Islands most remote field Cabin, Pointe Basse, we’re conducting a study of the personality of albatrosses, and linking their behaviour at sea with those we can measure at the nest. We’re doing this with the aid of an inflatable blue cow, named Betsy. Betsy helps us in testing how nesting birds… Read more »

Above the treeline at 0m altitude

  • Acaena magellanica growing in a dense sward at Pointe Basse, Possession Island. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.
  • Moss forming ridges across a low hill at Pointe Basse. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.
  • Poa cookii surrounding an albatross nest in a field dominated by Acaena magellanica. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.
  • Moss mats and stream near Pointe Basse. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.

Here at the Crozet Islands in the Southern Indian Ocean, at 41 deg S, we’re well north of what is considered ‘inhabitable’ territory in the Pacific Ocean. However, in comparison this far-flung corner of France, midway between Africa and West Australia, Madagascar and Antarctica, where the waters are cooler and the air is moister, the… Read more »

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 4. Le Champ des Albatros

Sam Patrick and Julien Collet discuss results from personality tests, assisted by Betsy, the blue test cow. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa.

Here at the haut lieu of albatross biology – Le Champ des Albatros, Crozet Islands the main study site for Wandering Albatrosses in the French Southern Territories, we have now done a round of all the behaviour testing, GPS deployments and nest checks that await us over the next month. We arrived a week ago,… Read more »

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 3. Arriving at the Crozet Islands

  • Aceanas and rusty relics at Crozet Islands. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • French Research Base Alfred Faure at the Crozet Islands. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • Sheathbill at Baie du Marin. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • Unloading at Baie du Marin, Crozet Islands. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa

After a days delay while we took part in an exercise involving the French Navy, we finally sighted the Crozet Islands as the sun cast its water rays over a cold deep blue-grey sea. Suddenly the bird life around the boat changed from the occasional white-chinned petrel and wandering albatross, to flights of little prions,… Read more »