Posts categorized as Biodiversity

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 »

Last week Te Papa Botany curator Leon Perrie and I attended the Uawa BioBlitz in Tolaga Bay. Organized by the Allan Wilson Centre and Groundtruth, the BioBlitz was an intense 24 hours of species discovery. Scientists from a variety of organisations were joined by members of the local community, including kids from the Tolaga Bay… 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 #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 »

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 »

Living life on the edge – plants of screes

Notothlaspi australe, Parachute Rock track, Lake Rotoiti.  Photo: Lara Shepherd.

Looking at the photos below, you wouldn’t expect these unstable rockslides, called screes, to be home to anything. But take the time to look a little closer and you’ll find a number of native New Zealand plants that have adapted to living in just such seemingly inhospitable environments. In early January I spent a week… 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 »