Burgess impressions

A few weeks ago I was supremely fortunate to spend a few nights on Burgess Island in the Mokohinau group to help out with seabird research. We were thwarted by the weather for two days, which meant that our trip ended up being a bit shorter than planned, but it was wonderful nonetheless. So where is Burgess?

Right out on the edge of the Hauraki Gulf. It feels very remote, and it’s been home to one of the furthest lighthouses from the mainland since 1883.

And it’s beautiful. The lighthouse on Burgess was automated in 1980, but prior to that there were keepers living on the island, and it was also farmed. Now it’s a pest-free scenic reserve, which suits the seabirds well.

It’s rugged, all steep cliffs dropping straight down into the ocean. It’s also vibrant with life. During the day there’s endless chatter from Red-crowned kakariki, and the fluting notes of korimako. By night the trees are crawling with Mokohinau geckos, and at this time of year, the skies are full of seabirds. Grey-faced petrels (my birds!), Northern diving petrels, Black-winged petrels, White-faced storm petrels, Fluttering shearwaters and Little shearwaters all call Burgess home. And Little blue penguins! It’s not hard to see why I love this place so much. 

The thing I love most is being out and exposed to the elements. That’s probably why I’m so drawn to our subantarctic islands. That’s why I love doing fieldwork for my Master’s research. It’s why the combination of biologist and wildlife photographer is who I am. Our time on Burgess was golden, and I can’t wait for more adventures out there.


Also! On an exciting note, my blog has been included in a list of the Top 100 Wildlife photography blogs. How cool is that? Not bad for four-ish years of weekly posting. Things have definitely gotten harder this year with my research being very full on. But I’ll keep it up for as long as I can!