News


Boundary Stream Bird Count Statistics for 2012/13

The latest Bird Count has recently been completed at Boundary Stream.  Read about the parameters for the Bird Count and the final numbers in the graph below.  Thanks to the team at Boundary Stream for collating this for us.

Five minute bird counts were conducted over April and May 2013 using the standard method for such counts (as outlined by Dawson and Bull, 1975). This involves:

  • Walking a transect and stopping at count sites every 200m.
  • Noting all birds seen and heard over a 5 minute period.
  • Species type and number of individuals are counted.
  • Each count is treated as a separate entity and no bird is to be knowingly counted twice.
  • The count is unbound (no distance limit).

There are three transects within Boundary Stream. The transects have 10 listening stations each. Each transect is done twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The data for Boundary Stream is based on 60 count sites. Sixteen bird species were recorded at Boundary Stream (13 native and 3 introduced). We had our first kakariki recorded. We had hoped that the kaka would put in a showing but they didn’t. One was heard before the official start of the bird count but not during (when it counts).   At least we know they are there though!

Boundary Stream

Native

Number Mean per Count Site (60)

Introduced

Number Mean per Count Site (60)
Bellbird

137

2.28

Blackbird

14

0.23

Falcon

5

0.08

Magpie

2

0.03

Fantail

19

0.32

Thrush

1

0.02

Grey Warbler

34

0.57

     
Kereru

34

0.57

     
Kokako

3

0.05

     
Rifleman

67

1.12

     
Robin

40

0.67

     
Silvereye

40

0.67

     
Tomtit

26

0.43

     
Tui

139

2.32

     
Whitehead

58

0.97

     
Yellow Crowned Parakeet

1

0.02

     

 

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Environmental Education – Ensuring future advocates for the environment

DOC Hawke’s Bay is working alongside ECOED in a partnership formed under the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project, to provide enhanced Environmental Education opportunities for Hawke’s Bay Schools. Recently, DOC Education Programme Coordinator Robyn McCool led a hands-on biodiversity study with Pukehou School’s year 7 and 8 class to complement other environmental learning activities during their three day camp. Despite the wet weather, the class had an amazing experience at the Lake Opouahi site, which encompasses the ECOED Wilderness Education Base and Pan Pac Kiwi Crèche. The students have since been able to build on their environmental learning back in the classroom. Their first hand experiences with the long finned eels of Lake Opouahi have added relevance to their current involvement in the term-long Freshwater Education Programme, facilitated by DOC Hawke’s Bay in partnership with HBRC, Fish and Game Council and the National Aquarium of New Zealand.

ECOED has welcomed 6 classes from Parkvale School throughout this term to participate in their Kiwi Health Checks at the Pan Pac Kiwi Crèche. Robyn McCool and DOC Ranger Daniel Winchester followed this up with a presentation at the school with the aim of enhancing the learning opportunities afforded by these visits. Their topics of kiwi conservation and predator control generated plenty of enthusiasm and students were especially fascinated by the “stuffed” predators and the traps.

DOC and ECOED have been working with Putorino School principal Nikki Irwin to organise a Ngati Kahungungu Cultural Standards Day at the Pan Pac Kiwi Crèche for Putorino, Mohaka, Putere and Kotemaori Schools. This exciting, hands-on environmental learning day for Year 0-8 students will incorporate a Kiwi Health Check, a Walk and Talk to discover all about eels and the trapping of predator species and a bush walk entitled “The Bush; Our Taonga”, exploring some practical uses and cultural values of native plants. Originally planned for June 10th; we’re crossing our fingers that the weather will cooperate for our postponement date of June 17th.

Under the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne Education work stream, ECOED have engaged DOC Education Programme Coordinator Robyn McCool to work alongside them in developing a guideline for teachers, to link ECOED’s resources and wider related concepts to NZ curriculum and Education for Sustainability objectives. Through this guideline, ECOED aims to enable teachers who want to use the Wilderness Education Base and Pan Pac Kiwi Crèche facilities to develop their own Environmental Education programmes in creative ways that reflect ECOED’s overall educational philosophies. This collaborative project is a great example of the benefits created through positive partnerships: people helping people to educate even more people – in and for the environment!

 If you would like to know more or become involved, contact Robyn McCool on 834 4850 or Wendy at ECOED on 877 1213.

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Media Release – April (this translocation was cancelled)

Seabirds wing their way back to Hawke’s Bay

Monday will see 100 mottled petrel seabird chicks winging their way to Hawke’s Bay utilising human air travel instead of bird power.  50 birds will be transported toCapeSanctuaryand the remaining 50 toBoundaryStreamMainlandIsland.  The mottled petrel complements the 50 Cook’s petrel seabirds that arrived last month and made Boundary Stream home.

These seabirds once flourished, nesting in the hills surrounding the coast.  Due to habitat destruction and predators, they have been reduced to only a few locations nationwide.  Monday 11 April, the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project andCapeSanctuarywill be relocating these culturally significant birds from Whenua Hou (CodfishIsland), west ofStewart Island.

Mottled petrel were once common in Hawke’s Bay.  After spending years out at sea, these seabirds would only come in to land to nest.  As chicks, they take a mental picture of their nest site and after wandering many thousands of kilometres around thePacific Oceanfor 4 – 5 years, will return to the same site when ready to nest.

A highly developed sense of smell enables them to locate food and nest sites at night.  They feed on fish and squid with occasional crustaceans.  When nesting and rearing their young, these seabirds bring valuable marine nutrients into our native bush, enriching the forest floor.

This translocation is yet another milestone for the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project building on recent bird relocation successes.  The success of the relocations can be attributed to the continued collaboration between the Department of Conservation andCapeSanctuary.

 –Ends–

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Media Release – March 2013

The sound of beating wings returns to Hawke’s Bay.

Hawke’s Bay residents can now look forward to the return of a once common sight; that of the Cook’s petrel flying overhead. Many years ago these sea birds flourished, nesting high in the mountain ranges surrounding the coast. Each day millions of these birds would fly to the coast to feed, returning on mass each night.

“Cooks petrel have been reduced to only a few locations nation-wide” said Ken Hunt, Project Manager for Poutiri Ao ō Tāne, “due to predators and habitat destruction. Their demise has had flow on effects that most people forget about. On their travels to and from the coast these birds add valuable marine nutrients to our native bush, enriching the forest floor with guano”.

On Monday, 11th March 2013, Department of Conservation staff will transfer 50 Cooks petrel from Little Barrier Island to a specially built predator proof enclosure high on theMaungaharuruRange, 60 kms north of Napier.CapeSanctuary will be undertaking a similar transfer on the same day.

The relocation of the Cook’s petrel builds on the innovative work already undertaken byCapeSanctuaryover the last four years and more recently bird relocations for the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project. To date, the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project has successfully transferred 29 Yellow-crowned Kakariki birds fromManaIslandand 6 Kaka (bush parrot) from Mount Bruce Reserve and Wellington Zoo.

One aim of the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project is to boost native flora and fauna not only in protected habitats and native bush, but also within the agricultural, forestry and urban landscape. Ultimately the goal is to see these rare native species thriving in local backyards.

To catch a glimpse of these birds first hand, follow the project on Facebook.

To find out about the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project or if interested in volunteering, visit the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne website www.poutiri.co.nz or call the Department of Conservation office on (06) 834 3111.

–Ends–

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Media Release – February 2013

COOK’S PETREL ON THEIR WAY

Local DOC ranger, Helen Jonas had the privilege to spend a week on Little Barrier Island, with volunteer Kathy Mitchell (a vet from Whangarei), to check on the Cooks Petrel Chicks. 

 150 chicks are to be translocated from Little Barrier Island to two projects in Hawke’s Bay, theCapeSanctuary(atCapeKidnappers) and the Poutiri O Tane project (at Boundary Stream).  The long term goal is to establish sustainable populations of Cooks Petrel on the Hawke’s Bay mainland.  Presently Cooks petrel only breed on Hauturu (Little Barrier Island), there is a small population onGreatBarrierIsland, and a population onCodfishIsland(down nearStewart Island).  The population is estimated to be in the tens of thousands.  The birds forage along the east coast, so breeding in Hawke’s Bay shouldn’t be too far out of there way. After the breeding season ends they departNew Zealand’s shores to the eastern pacific ocean, with some travelling as far as the gulf of Alaska..

The purpose of the trip was to check on what stage the chicks were at – we checked already known burrows, weighing the chick and measuring its wing length.  This aids in determining what time to translocate them.  If we get the bird too early, there is too much work at the Hawke’s Bay end in keeping them fed.  If we get the birds too late they may not have enough time to imprint with the site, and thus return to it when they are matured and ready for breeding in several years.  It is believed the imprinting occurs in the final days before they fledge, when they are emerging from there burrows.  The chicks are due to be collected in March.

When the actual translocation takes place Kathy will be supervising the hydration and feeding of the chicks when they arrive in Hawke’s Bay.  More information about the Poutiri project can be found on the website www. poutiri.co.nz

The coming translocation will be the fourth for theCapeSanctuary, and the first for the Poutiri Ao o Tane project.  Both projects have artificial burrows already made in a predator proof area and this is where the chicks are placed after they were flown by helicopter directly from theIsland.  When the chicks fledge they won’t return to these burrows until they are ready to breed – in approximately 3 – 5 years time. TheCapeSanctuaryare expecting their first birds to start returning for breeding this coming winter.

 –Ends–

 

 

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Caring for Kaka at Boundary Stream

Written by John Gibbs, a volunteer for the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project.

When, as a young trainee with the NZ Wildlife Service, I did my aviculture training at Mt Bruce and the Bulls game farm, I never imagined I would be using some of the skills nearly 50 years later.

 My wife Pat and I have been helping to care for the kaka while they are acclimatising to their new surroundings in the aviaries since they arrived at Boundary Stream last October.  I am running in a new hip and the low intensity task is something even I can handle. 

 I had only ever visited Boundary Stream twice before, both brief day trips, but was captivated by the place and especially the amazing wildlife it held.  The fact that so many people – DOC staff, landowners, volunteers, iwi, benefactors and researchers – had contributed so much and achieved so much was another attraction.

 Even without these attractions, the birds themselves make it such a satisfying experience.  Like all parrots, kaka are intelligent, curious and adaptable birds that interact readily with humans without apparently becoming too imprinted or dependent on them.  Their interactions with each other provide a constant source of amusement.  Kaka have a huge range of calls, from the harsh piercing shriek we all know from the bush, through melodious notes, croaks, gentle whistles and soft warbles and it’s captivating trying to fathom the purpose of each.

 Over the last 5 months we have seen the birds thrive and grow, until finally the big day came on Wednesday when the first 4 (2 males and 2 females) were let out into the wild for the first time in their lives.  One pair is being held back in the aviary for a while to act as an anchor for the released birds until they too are released next month.

 We have been radio-tracking the 3 birds fitted with transmitters over the last 2 days and they have stayed close to the aviary.  The highlight this morning was sighting the one non-transmittered bird, confirming that all 4 are alive and well after their first couple of nights in the wild.

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Project Update

The past six months have been very hectic for staff working on the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project.  Many milestones have been accomplished in a short time frame.  To recap, the project has successfully seen the relocation of 29 kakariki and six kaka to Boundary Stream Mainland Island.  The kakariki were released straight into the bush and are heard chattering high up in the canopy.  All six kaka have now been released and even though only four are monitored, all six continue to be seen and heard around the aviary site location.

 The predator proof fence was erected in time for the trans-location of 50 Cook’s petrel (titi) on 11 March 2013.  Working with Cape Sanctuary staff to reduce costs and share skill sets and knowledge, the petrel were collected from Little Barrier Island over the preceding few days.

 April will see the trans-location of mottled petrel (kori) from Cod Fish Island(Whenua a Hou), completing the species reintroduction of seabirds to Boundary Stream Mainland Island for 2013.

 Volunteers will be needed to help feed the chicks once they arrive, so if you haven’t already done so, please register your volunteer interest on the website.

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Current Volunteer Opportunities – September 2012

 

New Volunteer Opportunities with the Poutiri Ao O Tane Project

Good afternoon.

At last volunteer opportunities for this project are ramping up.  It is all go – kakariki and kaka are on their way.  Thanks to all the volunteers who have helped so far.  Nest boxes have been built and are in place, aviaries are looking very inviting – from a kaka perspective!  The small black catching bags carefully sewn with french seams are being christened next week on Mana Island.  Thanks also to those who are taking annual leave next week so they can help us with the grunt work.

We now have another 6 volunteer opportunities available over the spring and summer months. For those considering the logistics of it all, there is a fully equipped 3 bedroom house at the Boundary Stream Field Base available for use, but you will need to bring your own food and linen.

Please read on and see if there are any projects that appeal. When replying please ensure you state clearly which project you are interested in and what experience you have.  Some opportunities require a high level of skill, others quite basic.  Where a high skill level is required preference will be given to those with experience. 

Looking forward to hearing from you soon

 

Kakariki Release

When:  21st September 2012, midday (Planned but could vary)

Where:  Tumanako Carpark, Boundary Stream

Skill Level:  Easy

Fitness Level:  Moderate

What:  10 Volunteers – need to be fit, able to carry a box of birds and be able to walk easily off track, deep into the bush of Boundary Stream.

The plan is to capture kakariki from Mana Island and bring them in boxes up to Boundary Stream where they will be released in different areas. The weather and catching success on Mana Island could influence the date and time of release.

After a welcome and blessing, volunteers will walk 11 boxes of kakariki deep into the bush of Boundary Stream. The remaining birds will be released closer to the carpark with easy access for public.

 

Kakariki Monitoring

When: 23rd September 2012 to end of March 2013

Where: Boundary Stream and environs

Skill Level:  High

Fitness Level:  High

What: These volunteers will be fit and able to move quickly through the bush and they will have good bush skills. They will be able to visually ID kakariki, know their calls and be able to read bird bands.

We need to undertake as much monitoring as possible and would welcome volunteers who can commit on a regular ongoing basis.  There is potential for a group of volunteers to take ownership of this project and run with it. 

Ideally we would prefer stays of a week or regular weekends. Depending on your skill and the season, you may be asked to assist with other bird monitoring.

 

Kakariki Nest Success Monitoring

When:  Spring and Summer 2012/2013

Where:  Boundary Stream and Environs

Skill Level:  Moderate

Fitness Level:  Moderate to high

What:  We are looking at doing nest success monitoring once we have spotted a nest!  We are looking for volunteers who have had experience in doing this already. However we are hopeful there may be opportunities to be mentored by experienced nest monitors.

You will have a reasonable level of fitness, be able to commit on a regular basis and have the patience of a saint. If interested please provide your level of experience.

 

Planting Day

When:  15th September 2012; 9:45am on site to 1:00pmWhere:  Travel north from Napier up to Tutira. Turn L at the Tutira Store onto Matahorua Road. Continue ½ km past the turn off to Pohokura Road (that takes you to Boundary Stream). The planting  is on the L, visible from the road.

Skill Level: Easy

Fitness Level:  Low

What:  This is the first of a number of volunteer planting days that will be happening in the area. We have 2000 plants to get into the ground. It is a great opportunity to bring the family, a picnic lunch and enjoy a day out. You need to bring your own spade.  You may also prefer to bring your own gardening gloves too.

As this is also a Conservation Week activity, please regsiter your interest with DOC on (06) 834 3111.

 

Kaka Feeding

When: 26th September till mid summer when the kaka are released.Where: Tumanako Carpark

Skill Level: Easy

Fitness Level: Low

What:  This opportunity will suit many of us, as the skill and fitness level required is low. You will be taught everything about collecting and mixing appropriate food, how to clean the aviaries and look after the welfare of the birds.  Also it is an ideal project to start building your own bird monitoring skills if you wish to take things further.

We would prefer volunteers who could commit to a longer stint – ideal would be 8 day periods. Starting on Wednesday and finish the following Wednesday after handing over to the next team.

We only need one volunteer for this task but we would welcome partners as well so the family could enjoy their stay and take time to explore the area. While working with the kaka  you will have time to practise reading bird bands, teach your self bird ID and learning their calls.

If you are keen, please provide periods with number of days you could be available. 

NEWS FLASH – A kaka feeding training day will be undertaken, Sunday 16th September 2012.  Please contact us if you would like to be involved.

 

Kaka Feeding Roster

When:  Now until the kaka are released

Where:  Can do this from home

Skill Level:  Computer literate

Fitness Level:  Low

What:  There is a fair bit of coordination required to manage the ongoing number of kaka feeders. This position includes creating a roster that ensures the kaka have feeders everyday, sorting comings and goings and ensuring there is accommodation space. It is likely we will have a fair few volunteers coming and going over the next few months.

This person would ideally have a computer at home, be comfortable with emailing and using Excel or Word to maintain a roster. There would potentially be a few phone calls required. They need to be a clear communicator and be able to juggle.

 

Want To Learn More?

If you are interested and don’t have much experience there are things you can do to gain these skills.  I mentioned in the kaka feeding project, that there was down time that you could use to explore the area.  You could also dust off your binoculars and try to identify birds and read their bands if they have them, bring a CD of bird calls and see who you can identify.

Another option is to complete some of the free web based training that the Department of Conservation provides. 

 

 

 

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Pan Pac timber donation

Pan Pac donations of nest box timber for seabirds. One of the bigger projects for Poutiri Ao ō Tāne is the translocation or moving of the petrel species back to theMaungaharuruRange.

The range was once the breeding site for millions of burrowing seabirds.  Our focus over the last 18 months has been on the planning necessary for this to happen. The success of this project will literally turn back the clock and help restore the mauri (life force) of the Maungaharuru Range.

Translocations of two petrel species will begin over the next twelve months. We will transfer Cook’s petrel (titi) chicks from Hauturu (Little Barrier Island) and Mottled petrel (kori) chicks from Whenua Hou (CodfishIsland).  By transferring chicks from their natal burrow before they emerge, to an artificial one at the new site, they imprint on that new site and most will return to there to breed.

Seabird translocations are an expensive business. One particularly significant cost is the material needed to construct the 200 artificial burrows that the chicks will be placed in. The burrows are in the form of wooden boxes which are buried in the ground with a plastic pipe for a tunnel entrance.

Pan Pac Forestry Ltd is one of our strategic partners and when they heard of our need for timber for the burrows they stepped forward and donated what was required.

Brett Gilmore from Pan Pac says “It is great to be able to further support the project with the wood for the petrel boxes. It is a win-win. The boxes are made of a new product; Thermo modified timber or TMT, which improves many aspects of pine including its durability. Pan Pac wants to see how it performs in a harsh environment especially since it hasn’t been preservative treated.  And the petrel get a new home.”

The next step was to turn the timber into artificial burrows.  This is where our volunteers Owen Rees, Paul Exeter and Ted Angrove came to the fore.  These three members of the Napier Tramping Club have been volunteering for DOC for a number of years.  More recently they have extended their commitment to Poutiri.

The three of them have turned their hand to constructing the boxes and while it may seem like a daunting task to some they picked up hammer and saw and went for it.  A number of burrows are now ready for installing at the seabird site up on theMaungaharuruRange in spring. We will be needing   help to do this!  If anyone is interested, then simply fill out the volunteer registration form on this website if you haven’t already and we will get back to you.

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Pest Control Group meeting

The pest control group met recently to review the first 6 months of pest control. This control is carried out by WETA, a pest control company and is funded by the Hawkes Bay Regional Council with support from the Poutiri Project.

The aim of the control programme is to control the high level pests, ferrets, stoats and cats which are the main predators of the native birds and insects. We are fortunate that other agencies or groups are controlling possums, goats, deer and pigs.

A major driver is to devise and test a pest control programme that is effective over the range of land use that is within the project’s pest control footprint and by that we mean; sheep and beef farming, production forestry, dairying as well as conservation lands. This control must work in synergy with the land use operations as well as be effective and affordable. No small challenge.

An initial area of 8000 hectares was laid out with over 800 kill traps and has been in operation since December 2011.  However other adjoining landowners have asked if they can be involved and the area has already grown by another 800 hectares. To date we have killed 61 ferrets, 35 stoats 40 feral cats and rather surprisingly 248 hedgehogs

One of the other drivers was to be innovative and test new initiatives as well as seek ways of reducing the cost per hectare to a point where it would become feasible for interested landowners to replicate.

The biggest single cost of ongoing pest control is the labour required to check the traps and therefore a focus of the programme has been to seek ways of reducing the labour content.

Strange as it may seem one option was to compare baited with unbaited traps. Other trapping programmes around the country have indicated that stoats and ferrets can be attracted to traps in tunnels without bait. However over the past 6 months the indication is that we are 3 times more likely to catch cats in baited traps. The figures for stoats and ferrets were not as conclusive but the data is clear that baited is best.

So with out of the way we are now considering trialling a long life lure that comes in liquid form and slowly drips from a container emitting a smell that will attract pests and will last for up to  12 months. The advantage of this is we won’t have to keep rebaiting with the usual bait of fresh meat and eggs.

We will have every second trap baited with conventional baits while the others with the new experimental lure. Because we have such a high number of bait stations we can demonstrate statistical difference in a comparatively short time. Other innovations being considered also include audio and visual lures but more about them later on.

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