Project News

Rangers Report October 2023

Rangers Report October 2023

Operations Summary

  • The annual survey of bird reintroductions (popokatea / whiteheads and toutouwai / north-island robin) was completed in spring.
  • A visit to grey-faced petrel / ōi breeding site found five live chicks in the three nesting areas.
  • Servicing all remote cameras is back to 100% showing one pesky possum. First one in a few months.
  • Our nursery now has a new seed-raising shed thanks to a generous sponsor.
  • The trust is recruiting for a part-time ranger and Predator Free Whangarei is recruiting for two biosecurity officers.

Annual survey of bird re-introductions

Two endemic bird species were previously reintroduced - popokatea / whiteheads in 2017, and toutouwai / North Island robins in 2016. Thirteen popokatea and fifteen toutouwai were detected in this most recent survey. Most of these detections were birds seen and photographed, with a few being heard only. Experienced surveyors covered all the bait and trap lines in the reserve. Bird calls were played and both live call backs and sightings were recorded. As it was breeding season some birds may have been incubating eggs on nests and brooding chicks.

Popokatea and toutouwai photos by Heather O'Brien and Deane Williams.

Ōi / grey-face petrel breeding season

In late September Pete Mitchell took Tom Grinstead, Grant Stevens and Cathy Mitchell to the Old Woman to check on the GFP / ōi. Back in August we mentioned there were nine adults incubating eggs. In the most recent visit, five live chicks were found across the three sites along with one cold egg. So there are still a handful of chicks hanging in there!
Stoats again have been the main issue with this breeding season. The picture below shows a stoat rolling a petrel egg out of the burrow shown on remote camera. We found egg fragments under the burrow on the site visit.

Our nursery now has a seed raising shed

Using funds from Te Uru Rākau and the volunteer carpentry of long time volunteer Marc Lawrence a seed raising shed has been constructed at the nursery site. Thanks to Marc for his time and skill. The shed includes automated misters for irrigating our younger seedlings. The environment is also ideal for germinating seeds. From an irrigation perspective we are in a good position leading into the summer as the nursery site now features 50,000L of water feeding two independent timer based watering systems, one for the main shade house and one for the new seed raising shed.

Read the full Rangers Report for October 2023 for more details on these stories, maps of bird locations from our survey, more great photos, tables of trapping results plus other exciting news from the reserve.

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