Penguin photographer in New Zealand


This video (in English, after a short introduction in German) says about itself:

Tui De Roy – A Wild Spirit

9 Dec 2012

Internationally acclaimed New Zealand wildlife photographer talks about her life.

From the Otago Daily Times in New Zealand:

A dedicated follower of penguins

By Rebecca Fox on Wed, 25 Sep 2013

Tui De Roy has travelled to the ends of the Earth in search of the perfect wildlife photograph.

Whether photographing the rarely seen northern rockhopper penguin on a South Atlantic island or the emperor penguin in the Antarctic, the remoter the better, for Ms De Roy.

During the production of her latest book, Penguins Their World, Their Ways, co-authored with Mark Jones and Julie Cornthwaite, she made an exception, visiting Otago Peninsula to photograph the yellow-eyed penguin.

Ms De Roy (59) and her co-authors were in Dunedin this week to talk to the Dunedin Photographic Society.

The book was a sister to an earlier one on albatrosses and together marked the end of a 15-year project for the trio.

It was during the work for the latest book that she fell in love – with emperor penguins.

She travelled to the Antarctic with the Australian Antarctic programme and was able to spend three days photographing the penguins.

”It’s very much the end of the earth. I was very lucky.

”The space, the immensity, the soft light and they were such stately birds. It was very other-worldly.”

Her dream was to spend one year in [the] Antarctic photographing the penguins‘ life for another book.

Such an endeavour was not that outrageous for the woman who has been photographing wildlife in remote places for many decades – including the Galapagos Islands, where she used to live – and who has produced six books in the past eight years.

Another highlight was photographing the ”outrageous” looking northern rockhopper penguins, as their remote location meant they were not often seen by people.

In contrast, she also spent four weeks camping in the Falkland Islands among four different species of penguins.

Her work required much time and the ability to be able to immerse herself in the environment, she said.

With the book out, she planned to take some time out before planning her next project.

One of the most “disastrous breeding seasons” in recent years has hit endangered yellow-eyed penguin colonies along Otago’s coast: here.

Wandering albatross new research


This video is called Nature of Wandering Albatross birds – David AttenboroughBBC wildlife.

From the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels:

Looking good? Female Wandering Albatrosses seem to age better than males

Deborah Pardo (British Antarctic Survey) and colleagues have published in the journal Oecologia on senescence in Wandering Albatrosses Diomedea exulans.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Sex differences in lifespan and aging are widespread among animals. Since investment in current reproduction can have consequences on other life-history traits, the sex with the highest cost of breeding is expected to suffer from an earlier and/or stronger senescence. This has been demonstrated in polygynous species that are highly dimorphic. However in monogamous species where parental investment is similar between sexes, sex-specific differences in aging patterns of life-history traits are expected to be attenuated. Here, we examined sex and age influences on demographic traits in a very long-lived and sexually dimorphic monogamous species, the wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans).

We modelled within the same model framework sex-dependent variations in aging for an array of five life-history traits: adult survival, probability of returning to the breeding colony, probability of breeding and two measures of breeding success (hatching and fledging). We show that life-history traits presented contrasted aging patterns according to sex whereas traits were all similar at young ages. Both sexes exhibited actuarial and reproductive senescence, but, as the decrease in breeding success remained similar for males and females, the survival and breeding probabilities of males were significantly more affected than females.

We discuss our results in the light of the costs associated to reproduction, age-related pairing and a biased operational sex-ratio in the population leading to a pool of non-breeders of potentially lower quality and therefore more subject to death or breeding abstention. For a monogamous species with similar parental roles, the patterns observed were surprising and when placed in a gradient of observed age/sex-related variations in life history traits, wandering albatrosses were intermediate between highly dimorphic polygynous and most monogamous species.”

Black-browed albatrosses and aging: here.

Dutch Arctic tern’s Antarctic world record


This video about Arctic terns is called Migration Google Earth Tour Video.

Translated from Vroege Vogels TV in the Netherlands:

An Arctic Tern from Eemshaven has massively broken a world record: the bird, weighing hardly 100g, during a year has flown 90 thousand kilometers during a return journey to the Antarctic. This is an absolute world record in long distance migration. The record is described in an article in Ardea, the international scientific journal of the Dutch Ornithological Union.

Research

The study was conducted by attaching tiny ‘dataloggers‘, geolocators, to seven birds. This device of just 2 grams stores information about light and dark in combination with time. These two data make it possible to to retrieve the birds’ position on earth with a precision of about 100 km. All birds returned in 2012 and could be caught. Five dataloggers were still working and revealed a startling flyway.

Flyway

The terns were, on average, 273 ± 7 days on the road. They all flew to the same spot in the North Atlantic where the terns of Greenland stayed two weeks later. Like these terns the Dutch terns flew (albeit earlier) then to an area west of Namibia.

Dutch Arctic tern migration, credit BirdLife in the Netherlands

After that the birds of Dutch nesting colonies followed a different route. They flew first across the Indian Ocean to a previously unknown stopping place between 20-40° N and 65-100° E (near Amsterdam Island). From this stop they then went on to sea areas south of Australia. Some flew from here south to the Antarctic, but one bird flew to New Zealand and then deflected to Antarctica.

Record distance

During the southern summer they flew westward along the coast of Antarctica, where they stayed in the sea area between 35-150° E. In March they went back to the north with a stopover in the North Atlantic. The distance of the terns averaged around 90,000 km, a record distance. If the distances of stopping while underway and in the wintering area are not counted, then the flyway was on average 48,700 km.

See also here.

Antarctic blue whales, new research


This video is called Worlds Largest Blue Whale colony – Discovered in Sri Lanka.

From Wildlife Extra:

2 Blue whales given satellite tags in the Antarctic

New acoustic devices prove successful for tracking Blue whales

March 2013. A recent research expedition to the Antarctic, using acoustic devices to locate Blue whales, has proved very successful. By using sound rather than sight to initially detect the whales, scientists significantly improved the likelihood of finding and counting whales in the vast Southern Ocean. The research is a core part of an Australian-led international project to estimate the abundance, distribution and behaviour of the species that was decimated in the early 1900s when industrial whaling killed approximately 250,000 animals.

The sonobuoys allowed researchers to record more than 500 hours of audio including more than 20,000 blue whale vocalisations. Two Blue whales were given satellite tags to enable scientists to track their migration, which, it is hoped, will provide vital information on their behaviour and biology.

The 2013 expedition achievements included:

626 hours of acoustic recordings in the sample area; 26,545 calls of Antarctic blue whale were analysed in real time; 43 acoustic groups were targeted, with an 85% success rate.
Identification of 57 individual Antarctic blue whales using photos, plus 11 pygmy blue whales. Identification of 23 individual Antarctic blue whales using biopsy samples, plus 8 humpback whales.
Satellite tags on 2 Antarctic blue whales; both transmitting locations for more than 15 days so far.
100 specimens of Antarctic krill collected for genetics research.

Non-lethal techniques

These statistics do not tell the whole story. Importantly this voyage demonstrated a suite of non-lethal techniques, including acoustic tracking, satellite tagging, photographic and genetic identification, which can be used to study the elusive Antarctic blue whales. The information gathered on this voyage will go towards answering the big question about just how many of these animals remain in the oceans today.

Once the ship has reached New Zealand, the real work begins in analysing the huge data set collected over the past seven weeks.

A spokesman for the crew said “The offices we go back to won’t heave with each wave and the outlook will be less exhilarating, but the work will be equally satisfying and worthwhile. Papers have to be prepared for the International Whaling Commission meeting in Korea in June and the methods, tested and proven on this voyage, will be communicated to our colleagues in the Southern Ocean Research Partnership.”

Cormorants nesting in the snow


This video is called Blue-eyed cormorants on the Antarctic Peninsula.

In the Antarctic, cormorants often nest in the snow. They are blue-eyed cormorants.

Zwanenwater cormorants

In the northern hemisphere, in the Netherlands, great cormorants have already started to nest in the wintry weather.

This photo by Erik Menkveld is from the Zwanenwater nature reserve.

Antarctic blue whale new research


This video says about itself:

Mar 23, 2010

Me (Caitlyn/Genora100) and My BFF (Rachel/ilovesilverherocks, http://www.youtube.com/user/ilovesilverherocks) have to do a project on an Antarctic animal! we chose the blue whale!

From Wildlife Extra:

Researchers leave port to search for and tag Blue whales in Antarctica

Voyage in search of the world’s largest creature

January 2013. A team of international whale researchers have sailed from Hobart in search of the biggest creature on Earth, the Antarctic blue whale. The scientists from Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Chile and New Zealand, will use newly-developed passive acoustic sonobuoy methods to track and locate the elusive animals across hundreds of kilometres in the Southern Ocean.

Antarctic Blue Whale Project

Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke said this is the inaugural voyage of the Antarctic Blue Whale Project which aims to estimate the abundance, distribution and behaviour of the species.

Mr Burke said “The Antarctic blue whale can grow to over 30 metres in length and weigh up to 180 tonnes, its tongue alone is heavier than an elephant and its heart is as big as a small car. Even the largest dinosaur was smaller than the blue whale. Despite their colossal size we know very little about the animals, including where they breed and feed, and how many remain in our oceans today after industrial whaling slaughtered more than 340,000 of them in the early 1900s.”

The researchers will target areas thought to be frequented by the blue whales along the ice edge west of the Ross Sea. If survey methods are successful in locating the whales, photographs of the animals’ flanks and biopsy samples will be taken to build individual sighting histories that will assist in estimating population size.

Satellite tags

The 18-strong team will also work from small boats in freezing Antarctic conditions to deploy satellite tags on the animals.

Not necessary to kill whales for research – Unlike Japan

Burke added “We then aim to be able to track their movements within their Antarctic feeding grounds and potentially further north to their breeding areas. This research shows, in contrast to Japan’s so called “scientific whaling” program, that you don’t have to kill these majestic creatures to get valuable information about them.”

The project is a flagship program of the international Southern Ocean Research Partnership (SORP) involving ten countries – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa and the United States. SORP was initiated by Australia through the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to promote non-lethal research in the Southern Ocean.

“Today the Antarctic blue whale is classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and is of global interest as one of the most at risk baleen whale species in the Southern Ocean,” Mr Burke said.

“The information gathered in this research will be supplied to the IWC to assist in the conservation and recovery of this iconic species.”