Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wangauni Pelagic Trip

October's windy weather had already resulted in the postponment of one pelagic (meaning open water as opposed to coastal) trip off the coast of Wanganui. However, a break in the weather and good timing saw the opportunity to get out on the water on Tuesday. Ten of us from Wanganui and Palmy had chatered a fishing vessel and a 7am departure from port meant an early rise for the Palmy crew. Choppy, sloppy seas greeted us and depsite optimistically popping sealegs prior to leaving home a number of us quickly turned green-faced and took turns farewelling our breakfasts (Wild Bean Coffee & Muffin, $4.90, going, going gone!). Still the seabirds more than made up for it and soon after departing the shores we were joined by White-capped Albatross and Northern Giant Petrel. Laying out a line of chum at a later point resulted in higher number of visitors with a number of White-capped Albatross, Cape Petrel, Fairy Prion, a Fluttering Shearwater and Sooty Shearwater. Other birds came and went over the day and the spectacular dynamic soaring of the albatross was always a stirring, stunning sight to witness. Seeing these birds above the waves should surely be on everyone's bucket list. Here's a few shots from the day...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Communicating Science

As part of my year I need to be communicating to others about my fellowship. Of course this blog is part of that but at the moment it is also being complemented with a few speaking engagements. The most recent was at Napier Forest & Bird where I spoke. It was a talk I wasn't sure I'd get to give as the weather when we left Palmy packed in and we were greeted by snow as we travelled through the gorge! This continued right through to beyond Norsewood and thick snow settled onto the roads making for a slow, treacherous drive.
I also enjoyed putting the whole year together as a presentation, there's some great stories to tell and photos to share. I always admire great communicators, Paul Callaghan being one of the best science communicators around - he can make science accessible and just engage an audience with his experience, knowledge and clear commincation style. Actually I'm currently reading his great book, As far as we know, basically transcripts of his Saturday morning interviews with Kim Hill, which I highly recommend. I can only hope my talks are enjoyed and give a sense of the awe I feel about the epic migrations of these amazing shorebirds.