Monday, April 29, 2013

Motuora Island

Track clearing and cleaning up the newly created  Gannet colony were the tasks for this working party as we headed out on the first water taxi from Sandspit heading to Motuora at 8am. The crossing was calm with little wind and we arrived to a welcome from Sian and Toby on the Island. Soon we were heading off in small groups for our allotted tasks. I was with Shelley and Wolfgang and we were track clearing at the Southern tip of the Island.  More  to follow........................

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Duvaucel's Geckos

It was an exciting time to see up close a female translocated Duvaucel's gecko living free in the bush of  Tiritiri Matangi Island. With many thanks to Alaine a researcher from Massey University for sharing her knowledge  to monitor the progress of our largest native geckos.

Using a radio receiver to reach the small transmitter back packs, complete with aerials on the geckos, Alaine could then observe and record where these nocturnal creatures prefer to be.

I added a rifleman to my sightings, its my first up close in fact so close I could not photograph it with the lens I had attached to my camera. Its a diminutive bird that moves extremely fast and although I have heard them on the kawarau track this was my first sighting.
 We also saw little spotted kiwi and heard them too after dark on the Ridge track on our way to search for the geckos.  A large tuatara was in its usual place and I was pleased to be able to get a photo this time as on my last visit he was not visible.

More to follow.................................

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Kaipara in a kayak

With a steady downpour as we arrived after setting out  before 7am to meet the high tide, it wasn't looking good to launch the kayak. As  we struggled to put the waterproof gear on in the rain this seemed to transform the day and by the time we were on the water the sun was shining. The mission was to search for good locations for potential nesting sites for some rare birds. Then returning from an island while there was some water left in the kaipara so we didn't have to trudge through deep mud, we then explored for seed regeneration. This was in  in the recent fire damaged forests along the Kaipara edge and also in the Dome valley on our way home.

On the beach of one of the islands we found an interesting plant Tauhinu which is a native weed. I remember seeing this along the wharf road on Tiri.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Motuora Island - Pycroft's Petrel feeding

Ignoring the weather reports of moderate rain, 14 supporters of the Motuora project set out from Sandspit  by water taxi on a busy Easter Sunday. This was a Pycroft's Petrel information day. Well more than that we were able to watch these beautiful birds being artificially fed by a keen group of dedicated volunteers. It was wonderful to be up close to see the real character of these birds that have been trans located from the Mercury Islands to form a new colony on Motuora Island.

The birds are taken before fledging from their source Island and are moved to  their new home to imprint that locality before flying off for three years and then hopefully returning to Motuora as their new permanent home. Special burrows with inspection boxes had been previously prepared by volunteers as the new home for 70 birds.

I then  walked to the Northern headland and in the afternoon to the Southern headland where I found long-tailed blue butterflies, a self introduced species that arrived in New Zealand in the 1960s.
My thanks to the team for a great day out and a very tasty BBQ at the potting sheds.

This is a great ongoing project to support, the restoration of this open sanctuary reserve with a friendly group of interesting volunteers and many thanks to Sian and Toby the two Island Managers for their help and knowledge making this an enjoyable day.

More photos