A box of fluffy birds – the sequel. Fairy prion chicks fly from Mana Island

  • A fairy prion chick waits its turn in the feeding queue on Mana Island. Image courtesy of David Cornick
  • A fairy prion at sea. The chicks that flew from Mana Island in January-February 2015 are not expected back on land until at least 2018. Image: Les Feasey, NZ Birds Online
  • A fairy prion chick being hand-fed on Mana Island. Image courtesy of David Cornick
  • The burrow installation team hard at work, under the supervision of Helen Gummer (lower right), Mana Island, July 2014. Image courtesy of David Cornick

Fairy prions are small burrow-nesting seabirds that breed in large colonies on many islands around New Zealand. The largest colony (of about 1.8 million pairs) is on Takapourewa / Stephens Island in the western approaches to Cook Strait. As part of a project to restore the ecology of Mana Island (off the Wellington west coast),… Read more »

Antarctic blog #8 – The end of the world

  • The author reflected in the ceremonial South Pole marker. The marker is partially surrounded by the flags of the 12 original signatory nations to the Antarctic Treaty. The New Zealand flag is to my left. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, situated alongside the Geographic South Pole. US Antarctic Research Program staff gave us a brief tour of the base and described some of the research underway there. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Previous years' South Pole markers housed inside the USARP Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • The author standing beside the 2014 Geographic South Pole marker. Image: Colin Miskelly

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly visited Antarctica during November-December 2014 as a guest lecturer for Adventure Network International (ANI). This is the final blog in a series based on his experiences in Antarctica, and particularly at the Gould Bay emperor penguin colony in the southern Weddell Sea. For many people, Antarctica and the… Read more »

More Help Wanted: Photo-Detective #2

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There was a high level of interest in my last blog about photographs from Te Papa’s collection that require more information. So here are some more where we need your sleuthing skills: Disappearing Waterfall? What happened to the Kakahi Falls, on the Whanganui River, not far downstream of Taumaranui? This photograph appears in many a nineteenth album, features in the… Read more »

Antarctic blog #7 – Wildlife of Gould Bay

  • Three emperor penguin chicks go exploring. Gould Bay, December 2014. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • An adult Adelie penguin walking over sea-ice at Gould Bay, December 2014. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A snow petrel flies over Gould Bay, November 2014. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A Weddell seal lies on the ice at Gould Bay, December 2014. Image: Colin Miskelly

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly visited Antarctica during November-December 2014 as a guest lecturer for Adventure Network International (ANI). This is the seventh in a series of blogs based on his experiences in Antarctica, and particularly at the Gould Bay emperor penguin colony in the southern Weddell Sea. The main attraction at Gould… Read more »

Help Wanted: Who, What, When?

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Photographs tend to come to museums with little or no information attached.  The ones below are planned for use in an upcoming Te Papa book on our photography collection. You can help us flesh out some detail on these old photos before it gets locked down in print. Military Man or Policeman? This one has… Read more »

Reptiles of Takapourewa / Stephens Island

  • A tuatara dropping containing the webbed foot of a fairy prion chick. Takapourewa, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • An adult male tuatara with a fledgling fairy prion that it caught on the forest floor at night. Takapourewa, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Marlborough green gecko. Takapourewa, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Southern striped gecko on flax at night. Takapourewa, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly recently led a team that visited Takapourewa / Stephens Island Nature Reserve, to select and gather up 100 fairy prion chicks to move to Mana Island near Wellington. This is the second in a series of blogs about the project and the wildlife of Takapourewa. Takapourewa is best… Read more »

Antarctic blog #6 – Workhorses of Antarctica

  • A Twin Otter lands on the ski-way at Gould Bay. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A Twin Otter being refuelled at South Berkner fuel cache, en route to Gould Bay. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • The shadow of a ski-equipped Twin Otter about to land at South Berkner fuel cache. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • The control panel of the Basler (DC3). Image: Colin Miskelly

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly visited Antarctica during November-December 2014 as a guest lecturer for Adventure Network International (ANI). This is the sixth in a series of blogs based on his experiences in Antarctica, and particularly at the Gould Bay emperor penguin colony in the southern Weddell Sea. On my second visit to… Read more »

Wonderful days of holiday happiness

A rosebud for Fido , 26 December 1914, Hastings, by Leslie Adkin. Gift of G. L. Adkin family estate, 1964. Te Papa (B.022231)

Summer holidays are over. Some schools have re-opened and offices have filled up with workers returning to their routines. As for Christmas – well that feels like ancient history now. But you can relive past holiday happiness by reading these joy-filled diary entries written by Horowhenua farmer, Leslie Adkin, describing his Christmas break in Hastings… Read more »

Antarctic blog #5 – Running on thick ice

  • An inglorious end to the day. A Sno-Cat extracts our van from soft snow. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Two marathon runners grab a snack and drink at Checkpoint 1. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • An ANI staff member completes the first lap of the marathon. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • The 2014 Antarctic Ice Marathon runners leave the start line. Image: Colin Miskelly

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly visited Antarctica during November-December 2014 as a guest lecturer for Adventure Network International (ANI). This is the fifth in a series of blogs based on his experiences in Antarctica, and particularly at the Gould Bay emperor penguin colony in the southern Weddell Sea. Union Glacier camp was bulging… Read more »

A box of fluffy birds – moving fairy prions from Takapourewa / Stephens Island to Mana Island

  • An aerial view of the artificial burrows (with wooden lids, at right of image) waiting to receive the 100 chicks on Mana Island. The caravan is used as shelter while feeding the chicks, with the team of FOMI volunteer feeders staying in accommodation about a kilometre away. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Fifty boxes containing 100 fairy prion chicks fill the cargo hold of the BK helicopter. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Colin Miskelly (left) and FOMI committee member and project manager Brian Bell weigh a fairy prion chick while making the final selection of which chicks to move. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A tuatara dropping on Takapourewa containing the webbed foot of a fairy prion chick. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly recently led a team that visited Takapourewa / Stephens Island Nature Reserve, to select and gather up 100 fairy prion chicks to move to Mana Island near Wellington. This is the first in a series of blogs about the project and the wildlife of Takapourewa. Over the past… Read more »