Posts categorized as Field trips

Flesh-footed Shearwater Surveys at Ohinau Island, Coromandel

  • DSC_0532_vsm
  • FFSW
  • Fishing vessel
  • GPS track of FFSW

Keeping track of our protected species populations and their distribution is one of the tasks of biologists, and this summer Te Papa scientists surveyed sites in the Mercury Islands group for seabird populations. Flesh-footed shearwaters Puffinus carneipes breed throughout northern New Zealand, with a total population size in New Zealand of about 10,000 to 15,000 pairs… Read more »

Past and present fauna of Mt Owen, north-west Nelson

A speargrass weevil (Lyperobius clarkei) on an on the speargrass Aciphylla ferox speargrass.

As well as impressive plants, Mount Owen and the Marino Mountains are also zoologically interesting. The wet weather may have prevented us reaching the summit of Mount Owen but it did bring out the slugs and snails. We spotted a giant leaf-veined slug (Amphikonophora gigantea) beside the track on the lower flanks of the mountain…. Read more »

Snares Islands Flora: the ferns

  • Catchments sloping to the east on North East Island. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
  • Bare substrate and titi / mutton bird burrows in Olearia lyallii forest, a common site on North East Island. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa
  • Underside of Asplenium scleroprium frond showing sori extending to lamina margins. Above Hoho Stream, North East Island. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa
  • Asplenium scleroprium, above Hoho Stream, North East Island. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa

There are currently five recognised species of fern on the Snares Islands, the closest sub-antarctic island group to New Zealand. North East Island, the main island of the Snares group, slopes gently downhill from the tall, tussock covered western cliffs towards the forested east coast, creating four small catchments, which drain into Boat Harbour and Hoho Bay.  This combination… Read more »

The fascinating flora of Mount Owen, north-west Nelson.

Aciphylla ferox (fierce speargrass) growing out of a marble fissure on the flanks of Mount Owen. Photo: Lara Shepherd.

Over the holidays I was fortunate to spend a few days botanising the Marino Mountains, including Mount Owen, in north-west Nelson’s Kahurangi National Park.  Kahurangi National Park  is one of the most botanically interesting regions in New Zealand. Nearly half of New Zealand’s native plant species and 80% of our alpine species are found there…. Read more »

Subantarctic forget-me-not adventures

  • Sealion pups at Sandy Bay, Enderby Island. Photo by Jessie Prebble
  • Yellow-eyed penguin showing us the track on Enderby Island. Photo by Jessie Prebble
  • Fields of Bulbinella rossii on Enderby Island. Photo by Jessie Prebble
  • Myosotis antarctica on Mt Azimuth, Campbell Island. Definitely not a mega-herb! Photo by Jessie Prebble

From the 23rd-30th of December 2013 I was given the opportunity to join Rodney Russ and his team at Heritage Expeditions on board the Spirit of Enderby for a week long adventure to the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands. Link to the Heritage Expeditions website with information about their scholarship The Heritage Expedition Trust awards several… Read more »

Snares Islands Flora: an introduction

  • Olearia lyallii. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
  • Stilbocarpa robusta. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
  • Stellaria media, Gull Point, Boat Harbour, North East Island. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa
  • Stellaria decipiens. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa

The vascular flora of the Snares Islands is limited, at only 22 species (including one hybrid Poa).  Despite this, my first impression of the main island was an island covered with lush vegetation.  And there are still some botanical challenges – we failed to locate the fern Histiopteris incisa for instance.  Vegetation communities on the Snares… Read more »

Were broad-billed prions from The Snares part of the massive die-off of this species in 2011?

  • South Bay Snares
  • Dead skua prey remains
  • Skuas feeding
  • Broad-billed prion chick, Snares Island. Te Papa

This was one of the key questions that we were trying to answer when four Te Papa scientists – Colin Miskelly, Antony Kusabs, Jean-Claude Stahl and I – set off for the subantarctic Snares Islands in November-December 2013.  The Snares are one of the world’s great seabird islands and broad-billed prions – a small blue-and-white… Read more »

Life through a burrowscope lens (Part 3) – subterranean Snares Islands

  • Parara through burrowscope
  • Parara
  • Fairy prion through burrowscope
  • Fairy prion

A Te Papa team recently visited the Snares Islands, 105 km south-southwest of Stewart Island, where they completed a range of seabird research projects. The most time-consuming task was a re-survey of the vast sooty shearwater (titi, or muttonbird) population there. Estimating the population size was based on two main parameters – the number of… Read more »