Posts written by Susan Waugh

Travels with Betsy – exploring the world of albatross personality

  • A discussion in the field hut around the days activities. Betsy was a keen contributor to how we developed our testing regime. Left to right: Research assistants Tim Poepart, Julien Collet and CNRS researcher Dr Samantha Patrick. Image: Susan Waugh; Copyright: Te Papa.
  • Samantha Patrick, CNRS research repairs Betsy after a particularly intense interaction with a 'bold' albatross. Image: Susan Waugh; Copyright: Te Papa.
  • A birds with a more 'bold' response to meeting Betsy, clacks its bill and grumbles as Betsy is pulled away. Image: Susan Waugh. Copyright: Te Papa.
  • Research assistant Julien Collet presents Betsy to an unsuspecting albatross on the nest. Photo: Susan Waugh. Copyright: Te Papa.

Do albatrosses have personalities? And if so, how do scientists measure such intangible characteristics? This blog provides some of the background to research Te Papa scientists were involved in, examining how birds use their environment, and how individual personality traits of these birds can be measured. The previous blogs on this topic can be accessed here…. Read more »

Westland Petrels weathering the storm…mostly!

  • Tree fallen in the Westland Petrel colony showing a petrel burrow inspection lid (white object 1/2 buried in the ground) amongst the uprooted roots of the tree. Image Susan Waugh, Copyright Te Papa.
  • Viewed from the screen of the burrow-scope we get a clear view of the petrel chick inside the burrow. Image: Susan Waugh. Copyright Te Papa.
  • A classic sign of petrel activity in the mud-stone of Westland's Punakaiki coast. Birds climbing up the steep terrain make claw-marks in the soft substrate. This bedrock also proves a slippery base for the overlying topsoil, which has slipped off in large areas in and around the Westland Petrel colonies monitored by Te Papa researchers in 2014. Image: Susan Waugh, Copyright Te Papa.
  • A juvenile Westland petrel. We banded all young birds at the study colony, to track their survival to recruitment to the breeding population in 4-5 years time. Image: Susan Waugh, Copyright, Te Papa.

New Zealand has an amazing diversity of seabirds. Around 1/3 of the worlds 348 species are found in New Zealand waters, with a high number of endemic and threatened species among them. Te Papa has a long-term research programme on Westland Petrels, a species that nests in the coastal cliffs near Punakaiki, on the West… Read more »

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

  • Storage11
  • 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 »