I'm presenting on #WSTC4 in a moment! Currently on a Fulbright-NatGeo Storytelling Fellowship in NZ, making art & stories about efforts to save seabirds in the Seabird Capital of the World. Living in a tent, roaming the coast, catching boats to islands... https://t.co/5veeeZnDcg pic.twitter.com/eUAif6goS0— Abby McBride (@sketchbiologist) April 19, 2018
1/4 #WSTC4 #ConsBio3 On a recent adventure for my @NatGeo fellowship, I abseiled down a 70-meter seacliff near Dunedin. There scientists are monitoring a hidden colony of fairy prions, elsewhere driven off the mainland by invasive mammals. @Forest_and_Bird https://t.co/aknuNb0LCg pic.twitter.com/GlKUn8GJbe— Abby McBride (@sketchbiologist) April 19, 2018
2/4 #WSTC4 #ConsBio3 On another expedition, I voyaged across turbulent seas to the subantarctic Auckland Islands, to help wrangle population estimates for yellow-eyed penguins in their last stronghold. @docgovtnz https://t.co/fJ4LaKbQWx pic.twitter.com/Vtg0cTqDIj— Abby McBride (@sketchbiologist) April 19, 2018
3/4 #WSTC4 #ConsBio3 While exploring the effects of fisheries on seabirds in the Hauraki Gulf, I found myself inside a cyclone of hungry tubenoses, which appear to rely on the feeding frenzies of big fish schools to bring krill meals to the surface. @NNZST https://t.co/EUmfhMEOd4 pic.twitter.com/5L5wMEgmtl— Abby McBride (@sketchbiologist) April 19, 2018
4/4 #WSTC4 #ConsBio3 Another adventure involved staying up night after night in the rain on Little Barrier Island—where New Zealand storm petrels were recently found nesting after being thought extinct for the entire 20th century. @NNZST @aucklandmuseum https://t.co/P0svJh0YZg pic.twitter.com/aUsO2zDsCu— Abby McBride (@sketchbiologist) April 19, 2018
With this @NatGeoExplorers @FulbrightPrgrm project I hope to convey the beauty and value of seabirds, draw attention to their global decline, and highlight inspiring examples of conservation. https://t.co/qByu1esLXS (📷 @edinatw) @FulbrightNZ @usembassynz #WSTC4 pic.twitter.com/ccdlxPpR5g— Abby McBride (@sketchbiologist) April 19, 2018
Sketch biologizing on the seabird-rich Poor Knights Islands! That's a shearwater chick I'm holding (see bottom left image), which one obtains by lying face-down in the dirt and sticking one's arm down a burrow (see bottom right image), while hoping not to get bitten by a lurking tuatara (see previous Instagram post). I sketched a little story about the trip—link in bio—but really you have to hear this place to believe it. Luckily, RNZ's Alison Ballance came with us. Here's her podcast, in which I dubiously make my second-ever appearance on national New Zealand radio: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ourchangingworld/audio/2018639901/seabird-hotspot-the-poor-knights-islands. Photos: Alison Ballance/RNZ.
Sketched in the pre-dawn darkness, by headlamp light: Buller’s shearwaters on the Poor Knights Islands, the only place in the world where these seabirds nest. They crash-landed through the forest canopy at dusk, wriggled into their burrows to feed their chicks, and for the last several hours have been hanging out on the forest floor making a ruckus around our tents. At first light they’ll fly back to sea in a mass exodus. The island will suddenly become quiet. (Then the bellbirds will start up with the dawn chorus.)
Over the past couple weeks I've repeatedly found myself under scrutiny by sheep on ridgelines above me. Every time, I hear this in my head.