Posts categorized as Birds

Our Far South: Roaring Forties, furious fifties and Screaming sixties…

  • tabular iceberg. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • Iceberg. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • ICeberg. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa
  • Iceberg. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa

Heading south from Macquarie Island we have had some relatively calm seas, pretty remarkable for this part of the world. Leaving the Roaring Forties which gave us a pretty slow rolling sea the fifties gave us a small taste of what it had to offer with some mild five-metre seas. Passing past 60 degrees south was… Read more »

Our Far South: What it boils down to

  • Elephant seals and regenerating tussock. Victor Anderlini.
  • Elephant seals on the tussock flats. Victor Anderlini.
  • Aurora australis. Photo WWF.
  • King penguins surrounding the zodiac. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.

We arrived at Macquarie Island - the sheltered waters in the lee of the island provided a welcome relief from the open ocean we had crossed between here and the Auckland Islands. The cool subantarctic summer did not detract from the spectacular wildlife – elephant seals and penguins everywhere! Until 1920 the elephant seals and penguins… Read more »

Our Far South: from shipwrecks to high seas

  • Heading south. Image WWF.
  • Adams Island in fog, Carnley Harbour. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa
  • Wreck of the Grafton. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • Becalmed in Carnley Harbour. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa

I awoke to find that the boat had moved over night to the bottom end of the Auckland Islands, into Carnley harbour, with Adams island to our south. Adams island is home to Gibson’s wandering albatross – DNA research is currently being carried out to determine if Gibson’s Albatross is distinct from other wandering albatross species…. Read more »

No evidence that stoats have impacted on Kapiti Island’s birds

  • North Island saddleback displaying. Photo: Rob Cross
  • Timeline for stoat arrival, detection and the trapping of three individuals on Kapiti Island. The curve shows saddleback count results over the same period (average number of birds counted per 5 minutes), with no apparent reduction during the time that stoats were known to be present. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A saddleback specimen in the Te Papa collection – an unwilling sentinel species for stoat impacts. Image: Te Papa
  • The skeleton of the male stoat trapped on Kapiti Island in February 2011 is held by Te Papa (LM 2603). Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Kapiti Island is one of New Zealand’s premier bird sanctuaries. It is home to nationally important populations of little spotted kiwi, kaka, North Island saddleback, stitchbird and North Island robin, as well as other threatened bird species. The island was considered to be free of all introduced mammal pests after rats were eradicated in 1996…. Read more »

Our Far South

  • Auckland Islands sign and NZ sea lion pup. Photo Anton van Helden. © Te Papa
  • Elephant Seal  Auckland Islands 1995. Photo Anton van Helden .© Te Papa
  • Auckland Islands sign and pup
  • Sandy Bay Enderby Is Auckland Islands 1995

Welcome to Our Far South. This coming Friday I will be standing on the dock at Bluff, looking south, and about to board a boat heading to the sub-Antarctic Islands and the great white continent itself as part of the Our Far South project (www.ourfarsouth.org). What will I see? We all know about Stewart Island… Read more »

Night Life on the Poor Knights Islands

  • Poor Knights Dec 2011 463
  • Poor Knights Dec 2011 396
  • Poor Knights Dec 2011 326
  • Poor Knights Dec 2011 289

The Poor Knights Islands, northeast of Whangarei, are perhaps best known as a world-class diving location, but the life on land is no less astonishing and it really comes alive at night.  In December 2011, I assisted seabird expert Graeme Taylor with his work on the migration of Buller’s Shearwaters.  This species of petrel breeds… Read more »

Te Papa seabird researchers in the field

  • Flesh footed shearwater seen in its burrow with a burrowscope. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl. © Te Papa
  • Te Papa team landing at Titi Island Quarantine requirements mean packaging all food and gear into rat-proof boxes. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl. © Te Papa
  • Tuatara sourced from the Brothers were introduced to the island. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl. © Te Papa
  • Susan Waugh (right) and Simon Hayward (left) burrowscoping shearwater burrows at Titi Island. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl. © Te Papa

Te Papa researchers are studying wildlife populations in the field to find out about their diversity and behaviours, distribution and threats, with a programme of research on the shearwaters found nesting in New Zealand. We were privileged to visit Titi Island in the outer Pelorus Sound (Marlborough) for our summer field programme. Titi Island on Google maps … Read more »

One step forward after three steps back – slow progress with restoring populations of New Zealand seabirds

  • Colin Miskelly holding a fluttering shearwater chick, Mana Island, January 2012. Photo: Kate McAlpine & Colin Miskelly
  • Translocated fluttering shearwater chick being fed a sardine smoothy, Mana Island, January 2007. Photo: David Cornick
  • Diving petrels and fluttering shearwaters killed by the Rena oil spill, Bay of Plenty, October 2011. Photo: Colin Miskelly
  • Diving petrels and fluttering shearwaters killed by the Rena oil spill, Bay of Plenty, October 2011. Photo: Colin Miskelly

2011 was a grim year for New Zealand seabirds. They suffered the triple-whammy of nuclear-fallout from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant affecting the North Pacific non-breeding grounds of at least four species, a severe winter storm that killed up to half a million prions, then the Rena oil spill believed to have killed several… Read more »