Posts categorized as Birds

Solander: Kingdom of the Birds

  • Close up Buller's albatross, or mollymawk. Photo credit: Michael Hall © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Albatross at home on rough seas. Photo credit: Michael Hall © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Attaching logger to bird. Photo credit: Michael Hall © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • econd campsite in the colony. Photo credit: Michael Hall © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Steeped in history, Solander Island stands as a reminder of how beautiful it once was in this land which once was the kingdom of the birds. Monday 6 May Our party of 3 comprising Dr Dominique Filippi, Director Sextant Technology Ltd, Jean Claude Stahl (photographer scientist) and myself (Michael Hall) spend time readying for the… Read more »

How to DNA sex birds.

Sex chromosomes in birds and mammals.

The males and females of many bird species are difficult to distinguish by their appearance (peacocks are a notable exception). There are many situations where it is useful to know the sex of birds including captive breeding programmes, behavioural studies and even species delimitation in extinct taxa. DNA sexing provides a simple and quick way… Read more »

Burgess Island – a recovering seabird island

  • Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) accompanied us as we approached the Mokohinau Islands. Photo Alan Tennyson, Te Papa
  • Fig. 1. Team members Jo Peace, Megan Friesen and Derek Bettesworth head towards the Burgess Island lighthouse. Little Barrier Island Hauturu can be seen in the background. Photo Alan Tennyson, Te Papa
  • Fig. 2. Old lighthouse accommodation provided a comfortable base with spectacular views. Photo Alan Tennyson, Te Papa
  • Fig. 5. Black-winged petrels displaying over Burgess Island at night. . Photo Alan Tennyson, Te Papa

By Alan Tennyson, Curator of Vertebrates I was invited by Chris Gaskin (Forest & Bird) and Matt Rayner (Auckland University) to join a party in February 2013 on the Mokohinau Islands to hunt for the nesting grounds of the recently rediscovered New Zealand storm petrel (Fregetta maoriana). This island group lies more than 50 km… Read more »

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 4. Le Champ des Albatros

Sam Patrick and Julien Collet discuss results from personality tests, assisted by Betsy, the blue test cow. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa.

Here at the haut lieu of albatross biology – Le Champ des Albatros, Crozet Islands the main study site for Wandering Albatrosses in the French Southern Territories, we have now done a round of all the behaviour testing, GPS deployments and nest checks that await us over the next month. We arrived a week ago,… Read more »

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 3. Arriving at the Crozet Islands

  • Aceanas and rusty relics at Crozet Islands. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • French Research Base Alfred Faure at the Crozet Islands. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • Sheathbill at Baie du Marin. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • Unloading at Baie du Marin, Crozet Islands. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa

After a days delay while we took part in an exercise involving the French Navy, we finally sighted the Crozet Islands as the sun cast its water rays over a cold deep blue-grey sea. Suddenly the bird life around the boat changed from the occasional white-chinned petrel and wandering albatross, to flights of little prions,… Read more »

Birds of the Poor Knights Islands

  • Juvenile spotless crake, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Adult spotless crake, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Female bellbird, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Male bellbird, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly recently visited the Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve, off the Northland coast, as part of a research team tracking the at-sea movements of Buller’s shearwaters. The project is led by Graeme Taylor of the Department of Conservation, and is intended to identify the marine environments used… Read more »

Life through a burrowscope lens (Part 2) – subterranean Poor Knights Islands

  • Flax snail (Placostylus hongii) inside a shearwater burrow on Aorangi Island, as viewed through a burrowscope. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Flax snail (Placostylus hongii) inside a shearwater burrow on Aorangi Island, as viewed through a burrowscope. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Two fully-grown kingfisher chicks inside their burrow on Aorangi Island, viewed through a burrowscope. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Kingfisher burrow entrance, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly recently visited the Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve, off the Northland coast, as part of a research team tracking the at-sea movements of Buller’s shearwaters. The project is led by Graeme Taylor of the Department of Conservation, and is intended to identify the marine environments used… Read more »

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 2. Tropical waters

  • Flying fish in the waters of 29 deg S. Image: Julian Collet, © Julian
  • Barau’s Petrel one day south of Reunion Island. Image: Julian Collet, © Julian Collet
  • Julien Collet CNRS Research Assistant keeps an eye out for whales and seabirds from the top deck of the Marion Dufresne. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • Lieutenant Iulia Popescu of the Marion Dufresne checks our position at the chart table.

Our visit to the Crozet Islands, a French Sub-Antarctic nature reserve at 41 deg S in the Indian Ocean started yesterday, embarking on the RV Marion Dufresne. We’re steaming straight south from La Reunion, towards the Crozet Islands, with landfall due in about 6 days. Overnight we made good steaming with an average speed of… Read more »

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 1. Departing La Reunion for the Crozet Islands

  • Scientists Boarding Marion du Fresne. Image: Susan Waugh, (C) Te Papa.
  • Samantha Patrick CNRS Researcher on board RV Marion du Fresne. Image: Susan Waugh, (C) Te Papa.
  • Marion du Fresne and local boy at port in St Denis La Reunion. Image: Susan Waugh, (C) Te Papa.
  • Departure Board of the Marion Du Fresne. Image: Susan Waugh, (C) Te Papa

A two-month long research programme is getting underway for Te Papa Senior Curator Dr Susan Waugh, in collaboration with the French CNRS Research Institute and Polar Institute (IPEV). Susan departs from La Reunion on February 7th to take part in a programme of work on the personality of Albatrosses on the Crozet Islands. Departure Board… Read more »