Volunteer News 16th August

Hi all,

This email contains:

1. Latest and forthcoming sessions

2. Recent rat monitoring results

3. Robin sightings map

4. Response to confrontation - some advice

5. Kōkako kōrero

6. Help with bait bagging needed!

7. Ark session calendar

Happy reading!


ARK IN THE PARK volunteer coordinator

Physical address: Cascades Ranger Station

Falls Road, Waitākere

PO Box 95194, Swanson, Auckland 0653

09 810 7014

1. Latest events and forthcoming sessions

We started our new baiting round last week. We baited lines in AN, P, B and C blocks. We are doing smart double bagging, with no buffer. The uptake looks variable with lines showing very high uptake (P block) or very low uptake (B block).

The baiting calendar for August is:

B block

P block

AN block

C block

F lines from F0 to F4 included

R lines from R0 to R5 included

This week, we will carry on the baiting in these blocks during our 2 volunteer sessions, on Thursday the 15th and on Saturday the 17th of August. Both sessions will start at 8:30am at the ranger station. The Saturday session will be followed with a sausage sizzle.

Please let me know if you are coming to either of these sessions. Also please note that if you make a last minute decision (after 5pm) or have an unexpected change of plans it's best that you leave a message on our phone 09 810 7014 rather than email me.

Next week, Gillian and I will be in Whangarei for the Sanctuaries of New Zealand conference. As a result, there won't be any volunteer sessions during that week (Thursday 22nd and Saturday 24th August). We will resume our volunteer sessions on Thursday, the 29th August.

Welcome to James Conway, Christine Mansford and Craig Starr who have joined the Ark in June and to Angus Jones, Anne Owens, Janet & Tony Petricevich and Micaella Stone who joined the Ark in July.

Also a big thank you to our sausage cooks: Kay Wight, Rosemary Stagg, Rosemary Downard, Helen & Patrick Doherty and Marilyn Burgess.

2. Recent rat monitoring results

Internal Ark: 31.8%

. northern lines: 30%

. southern lines: 33.7%

Pig Wallow (A24s): 80%

External Ark (non managed area): 70%

(Click on the picture to see its enlarged version)

These rat monitoring results show that the effects of the mast year fruiting are now being felt. As mentioned in previous weeks, we have started our next baiting round earlier than initially planned and will have contractors to bait IW and KOK blocks with labour intensive but very effective toxins (more information to come soon).

3. Robin sightings map

Thank you to all of you who report robin sightings when you do field work. As a reminder, you can enter your own sightings online here.

Also, a big thank you to Karen Colgan who collated all this data and made the robin sightings map for the past year:

(click on the map to see its enlarged version)

4. Response to confrontation - some advice

Recently Gillian, Annalily and I met with two senior park rangers from Auckland Council. We developed some pointers that you may find useful in case of any confrontation.

As we are all intensely aware the closure of the Ranges through the rāhui and CAN is a controversial and emotional topic. Toxin use is also a topic that polarises people. There are different views and you may encounter members of the public with different views to those of your own, or those of the Ark. If you find yourself:

in conversation which becomes heated, or

being confronted by people, whether or not you are engaging in the situation

there are some things it pays to bear in mind. It may never happen to you but if you are prepared it can help you deal with any situation that does arise.

All of these responses are equally valid options. Use the one that feels right for you in the particular situation you are dealing with.

a. Engage in discussion with the person or people and explain what you are doing and that you have permission to be there.

b. Walk away, even if they are still talking to you.

c. Suggest that they contact the Ark project manager or volunteer coordinator and we will speak to them on your behalf. You could say that Ark in the Park or Auckland Council make the decisions on closures, dogs, toxins, kauri hygiene regimes etc. ) and as a volunteer you are just following procedures and trying to help our environment.


Along with your personal ID card and authorised vehicle card you might like to carry a few Ark brochures that you could hand out to anyone who questions or challenges you. The brochures have the Ark phone number and email address on them and are available in the storeroom and office.

If you have had an interaction that you felt was heated or unpleasant, or that you think the other party may take further action on, it is highly recommended that you make some notes about what was said and anything else that happened. This will be useful for any Forest and Bird or Council staff members who may be responding to complaints or queries from the public.

If people want information or to make comments to Council specifically about kauri dieback then they can use the email address kauri@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz (if they contact us in the Ark office we can give them this address).

Remember, its not likely that you will get into any confrontations but it pays to be prepared!

5. Kōkako kōrero

Considering the recent days and nights of hail, rain, gales, thunder and lightning its not surprising the kōkako are hunkered down and not responding much to the survey. However, the team have managed to identify 6 birds already.

Confirmed Founders, or potential founders, to date: 2

- Maurice

- Tahi Kaha

AiP Progeny to date: 1

- Cloud

Unbanded Birds (Adults/Sub-adults/Unknown): 3

- Maurice’s partner

- Tahi Kaha’s partner

- Cloud’s partner

Remember, founders are birds translocated from other areas.

Founders are either ‘confirmed' meaning they have produced a chick that has fledged, or ‘potential’ meaning they are not known to have had a chick fledge yet. They may of course have had nests we didn’t find.

Tahi kaha, one of the kōkako identified so far this census (Photo: Grant Capill)

Tahi kaha is a potential founder, introduced from Mapara in 2016.

6. Help with bait bagging needed!

We have loose bait which needs to be bagged. We are going through a lot of bait this round with the double bagging, so we really need to get this bait ready quickly.

If you have some spare time we would like to have your help!

7. Ark session calendar

Thursday 15th August, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting

Saturday 17th August, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting

20th to 22nd August: SONZ conference in Whangarei

Thursday 22nd August and Saturday 24th August: no volunteer sessions

Thursday 29th August, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting

Saturday 31st August, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting

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