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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Hancock Collections NHSN

As a member of the  Natural History Society of Northumbria I took advantage of  a visit  to the Hancock collections at the Discovery museum,  these are items awaiting repair , restoration  or just held as cabinet specimens , after being escorted through a myriad of doors we eventually got down to the temperature controlled rooms with the role back shelving units .The first tour was the Biology Section , the top photo shows not only one Great Auk but also a juvenile ,opposite these where a selection of Humming Birds , I was absolutely in awe of just how small some of them where , I was unaware we could take some photos and missed the opportunity of several Hummers displayed on a small branch , I have never seen any Humming Bird as yet , but one or two of these where on a par with the size of  Humming Bird Hawkmoth . Next to the Auks where some very rare birds a Passenger Pigeon, and two Slender Billed Curlews . There where also drawers of cabinet specimens used for measurements etc . I was rather pleased with myself  to identify  a Kakapo  wrapped in polythene but the tail just visible, on closer inspection it just looked like moss growing on it , apparently it means Night Parrot.
The next tour was the Archaeology section which oddly included a huge amount of weapons from ethnic tribes etc: the guides where excellent and I took every opportunity to ask questions , the collection was not just a few pieces of pottery etc: that I perhaps thought  but items such as a Reindeer suit that apparently the owner would be sewn into in the Winter and then released in the Spring presumably outdoors and facing downwind. A large portion of the arrows etc: where heavily wrapped and labelled with the warning  "Hazard of Poison " from such as poison arrow frogs, again so much to take in the items looking haphazard on the shelves and not as you seen them in a display cabinet, they quickest few hours I have ever spent the time flew by.     
 Great Auks
 Slender Billed Curlews, don't know the bird ion the background
 I never even had time to look at what was on here ?
 The air is conrtolled so I presume there is no dust circulating
 I think this was a young Lioness
 Armadillo superbly constructed for want of a better term !!  Stewart has corrected my  I.D. and it is indeed a Pangolin. and also the bird behind the Slender Billed Curlew is a Passenger Pigeon  a bird now extinct the last one dying in an American Zoo, once seen in flocks of Millions !!
 The complete skeleton of a Moa, the largest flightless bird or was that the Elephant bird ?
 Hip ! Hip ! Hippo !!
 There was that much to see my eyes darting everywhere to take it all in , I think this was a Pilot Whale
Gyr Falcon with Heron prey , I remember this well from the Hancock , it is being restored , and not as I suggested having been removed because of the subject.


Stewart said...

Hello Brian, the mystery bird behind the curlews is Passenger Pigeon and your armadillo is a Pangolin.


Northumbrian Birding said...

Cheers Stewart laziness on my part so much to take in I should have checked them out.

Christie Knox said...

wow, fascinating. It must be a bit of a different experience to see it all not really on display.

Northumbrian Birding said...

Hi Christie well worth a visit if you get the chance, so much to see you don't know where to look first !!!