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A journey retracing Captain Cook’s Dusky Sound voyage has resulted in some amazing discoveries for a team from Te Papa.

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Today’s photo of the week is of a native fern growing next to the Blue Pools on the West Coast of the South Island.

New Zealand is home to about 200 fern species, ranging from ten-metre-high tree ferns, to filmy ferns just 20 millimetres long. About 40% of these species occur nowhere else in the world.

Native fern growing by blue pools. Photo by Daniel Pietzsch | CC BY-NC 2.0.

Te Papa Museum is holding an online Science Live event this Friday (16 May) which will take viewers into the secret world of New Zealand’s ferns.

Botany curator, Leon Perrie, will be there to talk about our native fern species. Leon will also be answering questions during the live broadcast.

The event will be streaming live from 2—2:30 pm on the Te Papa YouTube channel.

Photo by Daniel Pietzsch | CC BY-NC 2.0

Te Papa’s Florence Liger tells us about New Zealand Birds Online—a new website they created in partnership with The Ornithological Society of New Zealand and the Department of Conservation (DOC).

We have recently launched NZ Birds Online, an encyclopaedia of New Zealand birds. I have been involved in this project for 18 months, from the IT side of things, and it’s been an absolute pleasure all along!

I’m an identification geek (among other geekily obsessions). If I have taken a photo of a fern, or a mushroom, or a bird, I will spend hours and hours looking at photos on websites to identify what it is I’ve taken a picture of.

That’s where the NZ Birds Online website comes in! (drumroll)

It’s got lots of things going for it.

1 – You can search for bird species by location

I’ve been to Kapiti Island and took a gazillion pictures of the residents. Well after that, I can actually compare what I have with what’s there!

NZ Birds Online location filter.

Filter birds by location.

2 – You can filter the list of birds by conservation status

I don’t really have illusions about the kind of birds I have pictures of. I usually take pictures while tramping, therefore I only get sociable and easy to spot birds. Removing the ones that are too absent to be in front of my camera is a great help.

NZ Birds Online conservation status filter.

Filter birds by conservation status

3 – I still haven’t found my bird? Well, I’ll use “Identify that bird”

I have geekily browsed through lots and lots of photos (just because I like it), and sometimes, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for (pun intended). That’s when I can use “Identify that bird”, that starts by habitat and then drills down into what birds look like.

NZ Birds Online bird identifier tool.

Still no luck? Use the bird identifier tool

4 – Lots and lots and lots of beautiful gorgeous images!

Did you see that bird on the sea while fishing? Maybe it was scratching its wing on a branch far away… Or you’ve got a blurry shot of a bird in flight. Well, fear not, we have the snap that will make you sure that this IS the bird. There are so many photos for each species of bird that you are sure to find one that’s a match.

And in that process, you have had the chance to look at hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous photos. Some quirky, some cute furballs, some “standard” ones… But what a joy, what a satisfaction to be able to wonder at the beauty of those birds.

I did like birds before, but now I really do love them!

Reproduced with permission. Read more on the Te Papa blog: