Posts categorized as Field trips

West Coast Fern Fieldwork 2012, 1 – what we were doing

Gleichenia ferns often grow entangled with one another and with other plants; hence their common name of tangle ferns.  But our understanding of them is also in a tangle.  Two or three species are currently recognised in New Zealand, but I think there are at least five.  The picture is of a new species.  It looks similar to the others from above, but very different when viewed from below.  I hope to formally describe it in a year or so.  Then I will be able to show you the differences.  Our fieldwork significantly extended the known occurrences of this fern.  Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

I’m just back from 10 days collecting ferns in the South Island’s West Coast. From previous collections, we knew of several currently unrecognised species of fern that occur on the West Coast. We investigated these records, visiting the sites to collect more material for our studies and to assess the plants in the field, including… Read more »

Life in the Burrow

  • Flesh-footed shearwater track from a bird loggered during incubation at Titi Island in January 2012. The bird flew to the east of Cook Strait and to the base of the Chatham Rise,and returned to Cook Strait,  where the logger battery failed. The bird then returned to its nest, where we recovered the logger and it continued raising its chick.
  • Transect locations on Titi Island
  • Attaching the locational logger to a Flesh-footed shearwater at Titi Island, Marlborough, by taping the small electronic device to the birds’ back feathers. Photo: Simon Hayward.
  • Te Papa shearwater research team preparing GPS loggers for deployment prior to departing for the island in Marlborough. We programmed the loggers (green and white electronic devices) and encased them in black heat-shrink tubing to keep them watertight. Dr Susan Waugh, Senior Curator Natural Environment (front left) with volunteers Alison Burnett (centre) and Simon Hayward (right) Photo: Jean-Claude Stahl.

By Alison Burnett and Susan Waugh The austral summer is the peak breeding season for seabirds in New Zealand. Te Papa is undertaking research into the impacts of seabird mortality in fisheries on shearwater populations over the next 2 summers. We began the study in January 2012, surveying islands to assess changes in the numbers… Read more »

Pukeokaoka / Jacky Lee Island – 1932 and 2012 – In the footsteps of Edgar Stead (Part 7)

  • A tangle of ongaonga (tree nettle) and pohuehue (Muehlenbeckia vine) on Jacky Lee Island, March 2012. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A brown creeper on Jacky Lee Island, March 2012. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A weka fossicking among tidewrack on the shoreline of Jacky Lee Island, March 2012. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • The landing bay on the south side of Jacky Lee Island in 1932 and 2012, viewed from near the hut site (the hut is now derelict). Top image: Edgar Stead photograph 2001.59.382, Macmillan collection, Canterbury Museum. Below photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly is researching the life and work of the Canterbury naturalist Edgar Stead (1881-1949). This includes re-taking Stead’s photos from the same photo-point, taking other images to illustrate his diaries, and describing how the ecology and wildlife of each of 10 islands has changed since Stead’s visits…. Read more »

Taukihepa / Big South Cape Island – 1931 and 2012 – In the footsteps of Edgar Stead (Part 6)

  • A Snares Island snipe on Putauhinu Island in March 2012. Photo: Ray Moss
  • South Island snipe at its nest on the tops of Taukihepa, December 1931. Edgar Stead photograph 2010.75.158, Canterbury Museum
  • Putauhinu Island viewed from the summit of Taukihepa. Edgar Stead studied the now extinct South Island snipe breeding among the stunted manuka and inaka on the tops of Taukihepa in 1931. Snares Island snipe were successfully introduced to Putauhinu Island in 2005. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Rerewhakaupoko (Solomon Island) at rear, and Pukeweka Island viewed from the tops of Taukihepa (Big South Cape Island). Top image taken in 1931 (Edgar Stead photograph 2010.75.158, Canterbury Museum), lower image in 2012 (photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa). Stead and companions stayed in one of the cluster of huts near the south coast of Rerewhakaupoko.

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly is researching the life and work of the Canterbury naturalist Edgar Stead (1881-1949). This includes re-taking Stead’s photos from the same photo-point, taking other images to illustrate his diaries, and describing how the ecology and wildlife of each of 10 islands has changed since Stead’s visits…. Read more »

Rerewhakaupoko / Solomon Island – 1931 and 2012 – In the footsteps of Edgar Stead (Part 5)

  • Broad-billed prion (parara) on Solomon Island, March 2012. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Jackbird (juvenile South Island saddleback - on left) and adult South Saddleback photographed 3 days after they were re-introduced to Solomon Island, March 2012. Photos: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Stewart Island robin on Solomon Island, March 2012. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Bush wren on Solomon Island, November 1931 (Edgar Stead photo 2001.59.20, Macmillan Collection, Canterbury Museum)

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly is researching the life and work of the Canterbury naturalist Edgar Stead (1881-1949). This includes re-taking Stead’s photos from the same photo-point, taking other images to illustrate his diaries, and describing how the ecology and wildlife of each of 10 islands has changed since Stead’s visits. The… Read more »

Are muttonbirds radioactive?

  • Good enough to eat. Roast titi await palatability testing. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A muttonbirder holds a pre-season titi (sooty shearwater chick). Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Adult sooty shearwater (kaiaka), Kundy Island. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Adult sooty shearwaters (kaiaka) depart from Rerewhakaupoko (Solomon Island) at dawn. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

The March 2011 Japanese earthquake and following tsunami took a terrible human toll, and also had devastating impacts on wildlife. As the tsunami tracked east it washed over the low-lying atolls of the north-western Hawaiian islands, killing thousands of albatrosses and petrels. The tsunami also crippled the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power-plant, sending a plume of radiation… Read more »

Our far South – Antipodes and Bounty Islands: dots of importance

  • Salvin's albatross. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • Bounty Island shag. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • Bounty Island shag. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • Furseal. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.

I awoke on the morning of 6 March to discover that we had very rapid progress over night and were approaching the rugged columnular basalt cliffs of the Antipodes Island, crowned with green tussocks. The home to the Antipodean albatross,the Antipodes Island parakeet and the erect-crested penguin (to name just a few of the birds!)…. Read more »