The population of any given species needs to be strong enough to handle destructive natural and made made events. Without this resilience one event can wipe a species of the face of the planet forever. In New Zealand our rarest endemic breeding bird is the New Zealand fairy tern. With a population of only 40 birds this is the breakdown for the 2017-18 season.
3-4 of last seasons surviving chicks which are too young to breed
1 menopausal female
1-2 ‘engaged’ couples who behave like they are breeding but do not lay eggs
11-14 unpartnered males (the population is short on females)
20 breeding birds (10 pairs)
It’s a fragile population with too many males (1:2 ratio). The other major concern is that during breeding season 80% of the population is on the same 40km stretch of coast. Here is where the breeding happened in 2017-18:
The fragility is particularly exposed when we think about the threat of an oil spill from the RMS Niagara. This wreck is a time bomb just off the coast from this critical breeding habitat. Even a small amount of the submerged oil could easily cover the fairy terns breeding grounds for weeks, starving the birds to death in a matter of days.
Book recommendation: This book by a NZ adventurer and herpetologist is awesome. It’s a refreshingly honest collection of great adventures and scientific discoveries. I throughly enjoyed Tony’s detailed descriptions of New Zealand’s treasures, his passion is inspirational. I really appreciated him sharing the highs & lows of what has been an outstanding career… so far. Get it here.
I have been working with Destination Great Barrier Island and the Great Barrier Island Local Board to create a new brand and website for Aotea/Great Barrier Island. The project leverages the Island’s new status as a Dark Sky Sanctuary (one of only three in the world). I spent a lot of time on the Island photographing places, nature and the night sky. I have been really inspired by the people, there are many environment advantages to small communities. Isolation and sustainability go hand-in-hand to create a more resilient system. The Island is already leading the way for how to live off-the-grid and as ecotourism grows I expect to see more green growth leadership on the Island.
Price, durability and stability were the big factors when designing this underwater tripod. The final design ended up incredibly simple and getting great results (I will upload some time-lapse footage at a later date). I have made four of them and I got this great shot of a red moki (who usually avoid me) at Goat Island on Monday.
Ok so this is a bit less portable and lacks some flexibility from my previous setup but with more than twice the light and one hand free I love this new configuration. I am spending less time messing around with positioning lights which should allow me to capture more interesting behaviours. The shadows are lovely: