Posts written by Susan Waugh

Westland Petrels circumnavigate South Island

  • Westland Petrel field team having a moment enjoying the rain
  • Westland Petrel foraging trip, June 2012
  • Westland Petrel Procellaria westlandica
  • BirdLife's Mark Fuller and Susan Waugh from Te Papa deploy a gps logger on Westland Petrel Procellaria Westlandica

Te Papa scientists Dr Susan Waugh and Dr Lara Shepherd recently completed a study of foraging movements of Westland Petrels. The birds were studied in 2 years and during 3 parts of the breeding season (pre-breeding, incubation and chick-rearing). This gave great insights into which ocean areas the birds are using, and where they concentrate… Read more »

Te Papa researcher’s major contribution to NZ biodiversity inventory

Te Papa taxonomists whos work was instrumental in describing over 80% of the animal groups for New Zealand

Te Papa scientists figure prominently among the 238 researchers who have contributed to a major new publication: The Inventory of New Zealand Biodiversity.  The third and final volume of this 12-year project was launched at Te Papa yesterday, and celebrated the work of scientists from 19 countries, cataloguing over 56,000 species. The work was brought… Read more »

Life in the Burrow

  • Flesh-footed shearwater track from a bird loggered during incubation at Titi Island in January 2012. The bird flew to the east of Cook Strait and to the base of the Chatham Rise,and returned to Cook Strait,  where the logger battery failed. The bird then returned to its nest, where we recovered the logger and it continued raising its chick.
  • Transect locations on Titi Island
  • Attaching the locational logger to a Flesh-footed shearwater at Titi Island, Marlborough, by taping the small electronic device to the birds’ back feathers. Photo: Simon Hayward.
  • Te Papa shearwater research team preparing GPS loggers for deployment prior to departing for the island in Marlborough. We programmed the loggers (green and white electronic devices) and encased them in black heat-shrink tubing to keep them watertight. Dr Susan Waugh, Senior Curator Natural Environment (front left) with volunteers Alison Burnett (centre) and Simon Hayward (right) Photo: Jean-Claude Stahl.

By Alison Burnett and Susan Waugh The austral summer is the peak breeding season for seabirds in New Zealand. Te Papa is undertaking research into the impacts of seabird mortality in fisheries on shearwater populations over the next 2 summers. We began the study in January 2012, surveying islands to assess changes in the numbers… Read more »

A petrel’s day at sea

  • Westland Petrel, endemic to New Zealand on its breeding ground. Photograph by D Filippi
  • Susan Waugh looking for petrels with burrowscope. Photograph by G Waugh
  • Prime petrel habitat, rugged coastal waters of Westland near Barrytown. Photograph by S Waugh
  • Measuring and weighing a petrel before logger deployment Susan Waugh and Megan Waugh. Photograph by G Waugh

The advent of GPS in cell-phones and car navigation systems has done a lot to render this technology accessible for a variety of users, devices are now only 10-20 g in weight, and can cost as little as $100 a piece. Satellite telemetry was first used to study flying birds in 1999 when 300 g… Read more »