Posts categorized as Birds

The petrels of Rangatira Island, Chatham Islands

  • Innocent until proven. A broad-billed prion on Rangatira Island, March 2018. Photo: Colin Miskelly
  • A white-faced storm petrel fledgling climbing a tree in preparation for its first flights, Rangatira Island, March 2018. Photo: Colin Miskelly
  • A broad-billed prion at its burrow entrance, Rangatira Island, March 2018. Photo: Colin Miskelly
  • A downy black-winged petrel chick left unguarded on Rangatira Island, March 2018. Photo: Colin Miskelly

Rangatira Island is world famous for its immense seabird colonies. Te Papa bird expert Colin Miskelly recently took leave to join a Department of Conservation team focussed on black robin and Chatham petrel recovery programmes on the island. Much of the Chatham petrel work was undertaken at night, providing an opportunity to observe related species… Read more »

The littlest snipe

  • An adult Chatham Island snipe presenting a food item to its snippet, Rangatira Island, March 2018. Photo: Colin Miskelly
  • A newly-hatched Chatham Island snippet, Rangatira Island, March 2018. Photo: Colin Miskelly
  • Chatham Island snipe nest, Rangatira Island, March 2018. Two eggs is the typical clutch size. Photo: Colin Miskelly
  • A Chatham Island snipe foraging with its bill deep in the soil, Rangatira Island, March 2018. Photo: Colin Miskelly

Te Papa bird expert Colin Miskelly first visited Rangatira Island Nature Reserve in the Chatham Islands as an undergraduate student studying snipe in 1983. He recently returned to the island as a volunteer for the Department of Conservation, and was delighted to renew acquaintance with one of his favourite birds. The first Chatham Island snipe… Read more »

Who’s living in Bush City? A citizen science investigation

Diverse variety of bush and a bridge pathway through it

Over 7–9 April, Te Papa is helping to host New Zealand’s first symposium dedicated to citizen science – the involvement of the community in scientific research.  There are presentations on Monday 9 April, and various practical workshops during the preceding weekend. One of the workshops is a bioblitz of Te Papa’s Bush City – Botany Curator… Read more »

Furtive fauna of the Auckland Islands

  • White-headed petrel chick, Disappointment Island. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • An endemic Auckland Island weta (Dendroplectron aucklandense) on Ewing Island. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • A pair of weevil Oclandius laeviusculus weevils mating on an Anisotome latifolia flower head at night on Disappointment Island. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • A lesser fulmar prion fledgling prepares for its first flight at night on Disappointment Island. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa

Sea lions, albatrosses, and penguins usually grab the attention of visitors to the remote Auckland Islands south of New Zealand. But when Te Papa curators Colin Miskelly and Alan Tennyson explored the islands recently, they were focussed on species that are easily overlooked, and particularly those that come out after dark… The night shift The… Read more »

Last week, a new Assassin’s Creed game mode was released which vividly brings ancient Egypt to our living rooms. Science researcher Rodrigo Salvador explains how this game can educate as well as entertain, and dives into our own Ancient Egyptian collections. Egyptomania No ancient civilization has captured the public’s imagination more than Egypt. The pyramids, sphinxes, animal-headed deities, hieroglyphs, and the… Read more »

A sniper in the subantarctic

  • The Campbell Island snipe was discovered in 1997 and named (as Coenocorypha aucklandica perseverance) in 2010. Photo by Mary-Anne Lea, NZ Birds Online
  • Auckland Island snipe nest with 2 eggs, Disappointment Island. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • Sea lion researchers assisting with snipe capture on Enderby Island. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • Auckland Island snipe chick, Ewing Island. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa

Te Papa bird expert Colin Miskelly has recently returned from the subantarctic Auckland Islands, far south of Stewart Island. Here, he tells us about his ongoing research on a little-known bird that he’s been fixated with for the past 35 years. Subantarctic sniping The term sniper is derived from snipe hunting. The common snipe in… Read more »

Albatrosses and petrels of the Auckland Islands

  • A light-mantled sooty albatross chick at a site vulnerable to pigs and cats on the main Auckland Island. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • White-capped mollymawks on Disappointment Island. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • The Auckland Islands, showing sites included in the Te Papa seabird survey. Image derived from eBird records submitted by the team
  • An Antarctic prion on Ewing Island. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa

The remote Auckland Islands 370 km south of Stewart Island are tiny specks of land in the middle of a vast ocean. This makes them important breeding grounds for many species of seabirds and seals that forage in surrounding seas. Bird experts Colin Miskelly and Alan Tennyson visited the islands in late January, and here… Read more »

12,000 images on New Zealand Birds Online – with help from Hungary

  • Greylag gosling, Hortobágy, Hungary. Photo by Tamas Zeke, NZ Birds Online
  • Zsuzsanna Guba and Gabor Zeke become acquainted with a kea at Fox Glacier. Photo by Tamas Zeke
  • Bar-tailed godwits (kuaka) are familiar birds in New Zealand, but all our birds breed in Alaska, where this image was taken in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Photo by Keith Woodley, NZ Birds Online
  • The extinct North Island goose. Painting by Paul Martinson, NZ Birds Online
May 2006
Equipment: Cruse CS 185SL450 Synchron Light Scanner
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CS 8.0

This file is property of Te Papa Press

The 12,000th image loaded on New Zealand Birds Online was of a cute fluffy baby goose, taken in Hungary. Bird expert Colin Miskelly explains how this image ended up on a New Zealand website. A broad church New Zealand Birds Online provides information on all bird species on the New Zealand list, regardless of whether they… Read more »

The ‘eww’ factor: Gruesome finds in seabird feeding study

Photograph by Susan Waugh

Elements of biology entail a certain ‘eww’ factor – and studying the diet of seabirds certainly fits that description. In research into the foraging habits of Buller’s albatross, a threatened endemic species from southern New Zealand, published in the journal Plos one in 2017, scientist Dr Susan Waugh and colleagues discovered more than they bargained for, when examining… Read more »

Wildlife highlights of Disappointment Island

  • Captive Auckland Island rail. Photograph by Rod Morris. Department of Conservation
  • Auckland Island snipe. Photograph by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • Gibson’s albatross pair displaying, Disappointment Island (main Auckland Island in background). Photograph by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • Colin Miskelly with a lesser fulmar prion chick extracted from a muddy burrow, Disappointment Island. Photograph by Kevin Parker. Parker Conservation

Bird expert Colin Miskelly recently joined an albatross research team on the rarely visited Disappointment Island in the subantarctic Auckland Islands. But he was on a separate mission to research the more secretive species on this misnamed gem of an island. An inappropriate name There are few places on the planet with more inappropriate names than… Read more »