Te Papa Museum Wellington
a place that will never inspire the affection as the Dominion Museum did
Stopped by to see the Albatross - they have two stuffed, mounted with wings spread
To clear up the confusion:
There are two huge Albatross
The Wandering Albatross: Diomedea exulans
The Royal Albatross: Diomedea epomorphora sandfordi 'Toroa'
Some Northern authors fail to mention the Royal, which is scandalous, since, according to the display it has the largest wingspan of any living flier (3.2m)
nb there are 2 subspecies of epomorphora, the Northern, sandfordi, which breeds on small islands of Chathams, and on the 'Mainland' at Pukekuru (Taiaroa Heads) in Otago near Dunedin. This being the only albatross to breed on a populated land.
L.E.Richdale (Richards??) 1942 "The Royal Albatross" describes the return of nesting to Taiaroa ... first hatching 1938, first successful departure ca 1946.
The Southern subspecies of Royal breeds on Auckland and Campbell Islands, this is 'larger' so I guess its the 3.2m span.
Around 1959 I used to fish off the wharves in Wellington harbour. Royals used to paddle in from the heads. I never saw one fly, they evidently need big waves and roaring 40s to take off. Some days I would see 3 or 4, they were easy to spot, being almost the size of a bathtub. One day I spotted a couple of lads who had hooked a Royal in the beak with a spinner. To my shame, I advised them to cut the line and hope the spinner would come out. I had previously freed a Petrol from a spinner and got beaked for my pains. It would require 3 men to hold down a Royal, and it would be impossible to lift a protesting bird out of the water. The young woman in Te Papa was wide-eyed with amazement to hear that Royals used to visit Wellington. Since they cleaned up the Hutt river and closed the meat works/abator at Ngauranga, the Royals dont return. On the other hand Orca occasionally now visit - never when I've been in town. Something similar happened to the large population of Albatross that used to hang around the Bondi sewage outfall.
Richards says that Royals dont circumpolar, they hang around New Zealand. One was seen in Chile. Dont know what finds have been made since 1942. As I noted, many authors seem to think there are only Wanderers. Te Aorea Riddell 2003 "Aorere" reckons that Royals fly circumpolar, I think. She (?) also reckons that sandfordi is a species, not just a sub-species. I dont know the visual differences, but I expect the 1959 Wellington visitors were sandfordi, possibly early offspring of Taiaroa, unafraid of humans.
The Maori used to go in small boats to capture Albatross young. Good eating its said, some were gathered for the Maori battalion. I dont know if Royals are killed on longlines, I believe there are sinking vanes on NZ longlines that sink bait quickly before birds can die.'
nzbirds says 'other common names "Wanderer"' - this careless consigning of a most magnificant species to oblivion makes me mad..
oceanwanderers seems authoritative,
Northern Royal is now considereda species: Diomedea sanfordi
This post duplictes the one from gbrun77
I made a new blog because I forgot my old password
But I found the new XML template very unforgiving
(how is XML an improvement if it is less forgiving?)
Now I have remembered my password
I may carry on posting in this old blog
but it seems the template is frozen... any changes and it flips to XML
also photobucket has begun censoring images ???
So I need an entirely new host for blog & images
If I can be bothered I'll try and find one