Volunteer News 17th October

Hi all,

This email contains:

1. Latest and forthcoming sessions

2. Spring bird news

3. Kōkako korero chapter 8

4. Health & Safety: emergency contact reminder

5. News from the Buffer Zone

6. Ark end of year BBQ

7. Ark session calendar

Happy reading!


ARK IN THE PARK Volunteer Co-Ordinator

1. Latest and forthcoming sessions

Last Thursday the Ark hosted a group from Toll who came and helped us with our seed collection. While some of the Ark volunteers attending the session put on their 'Ark guide' hat and led the groups, others headed to the South of the Ark and carried on with the baiting.

On Saturday morning, we all gathered early, packed our many bags of bait, a muesli bar to provide some extra energy and off we went for the last volunteer session of the baiting round. We came back several hours later for a late lunch BBQ and delicious scones made by Rosemary, the cook of the day. Well done everyone!

The few remaining lines to be baited will be done this week. A big thank you to all of you who have helped with this baiting round!

This week, we'll start investigating and baiting the new lines installed recently by Auckland Council contractors (south of the KOK and IW lines) during the Thursday session, on the 19th of October. Meeting time is 8:30am at the ranger station. The new block is called 'N' block in reference to the nearby Nihotupu stream. Expect very wet terrain, so be prepared for wet feet if not more... Spare clothes and shoes might be a very good option!

There won't be any volunteer session this Saturday, due to it being Labour weekend.

Next week, we'll hopefully be able to finish baiting the new N block on Thursday, the 26th of October. On Saturday, 28th of October, the Ark session will be held at Matuku Link while the Ark waits the required amount of time before rat monitoring. Matuku Link are in the process of installing a network of bait stations. The lines have been navigated, but the stations need to be nailed at marked places. More information to come.

2. Spring bird news

Spring has well and truly arrived in the bush and the busy bird breeding season is already beginning!

See below for some bird related news.

The whitehead/pōpokotea survey is now underway.

Like last year, Ark volunteer Jacqui Geux has a short contract to do a thorough survey both within the Ark and at surrounding sites. She started last week so we will keep you posted as the survey continues.

Robins/toutouwai are nesting.

The robin survey team are regularly checking in on known pairs and territories and there is at least one known active nest. It is in the Auckland City Walk area. Nest building activities were also recorded nearby at Anderson Track.

Unbanded robin in K block, possibly a female - Photo Jacqui Geux

Fernbird/mātātā recording.

Fernbirds are more often heard than seen. Grant Capill captured the recording which is at the beginning of this email within the Ark recently.

The new southern lines (N block) contain some excellent habitat for fernbirds as much of it is low lying and swampy. Fernbirds have a conservation status of ‘declining’ so its great that our new area provides additional protection for these rare birds, as well as the rest of our forest ecosystem.

3. Kōkako korero chapter 8 - the end of the census!

The eight week kōkako census is now complete. Walk through surveys were carried out in G, K, D, T ridge lines, AWN, AWS, W, CGN, CGS, AWS, KOK, IW and the new N blocks. This was supplemented by recorder analysis followed up by foot survey in the R, F AN, T and U blocks.

Additional investigations were carried out at Fairy Falls, southern Ian Wells track and along the eastern side of Scenic Drive.

Thank you to Deja Rivera and Erin Grierson from Auckland Zoo who lead the census. Deja and Erin were supported by Ark volunteers Kevin Ferguson, Mark Darin, Grant Capill in the field. The census takes a lot of early mornings and hard field work. Eric Wilson helped behind the scenes with the recorder analysis which requires a lot of hours in front of the computer. We are very appreciative of all the dedication and enthusiasm!

Thanks also for the financial contribution provided by Auckland Zoo.

Final tally

Founders = 23

Frances, Rata & Te Ariki, Ataahua, Zelah, Aumangea &Thurley, Karen & Sylvain, Marty, Sophie & Pierre, Kowhai & Maurice, Tahi Kaha & Aroha, Totara, Puke, Ranginui & Gordon, Kiwitea, Manuka, Papari.

Total territorial pairs = 15

Of those 15, six are founder pairs, five are combined founder/unbanded pairs and four are unbanded pairs.

Ark progeny = 6

Indigo (offspring of Karen & Sylvain 2016/17)

Pūtahi (offspring of Karen & Sylvain 2016/17)

Nina (offspring of Kowhai & Maurice 2016/17)

Kohu (offspring of Pair#1 /IW10 2016/17)

Cloud (offspring of Marty & unbanded 2016/17)

Kapua (offspring of Marty & unbanded 2016/17)

Coming up next in the kōkako diary:

Dawn Walk on Saturday (now fully booked)

Nest searching

Kōkako will start building their nests soon!

The same contractor who completed the work for us last year (Dave Bryden and his field assistant Amanda Rogers) will start work in the next few weeks. When nests are found volunteer nest watchers and people to check the ‘ring of steel’ traps will be needed. So watch this space!

4. Health & Safety: emergency contact reminder

Any Ark volunteers active in the field know that they have to fill in the intention book (aka The Red Book) before they head out. This book has to be filled in by all volunteers, whether you are attending a volunteer session or not, whether you are returning to the Ark at the end of your task or not.

In the past months, I have noticed a few things:

* some people don't fill in the book - please do!

* some people who don't come back to the Ark often don't fill it in: please do and instead of giving an estimated return time, just write that you are not returning

* some people write their own mobile phone as the emergency contact - please don't! The emergency contact is the person who knows that you are coming to the Ark and should anything happen to you we would contact that person.

5. News from the Buffer Zone

On Sunday residents of the Ark’s buffer zone gathered at Matuku Link on Bethells Road for a Conservation Week event on protecting our forest.

The well attended workshop covered both kauri dieback protection and trapping skills.

Thanks very much to Christine Rose and Ken Harrop for sharing their knowledge.

6. Ark end of year BBQ

Please write in your calendar the date of Saturday the 9th of December!

With our 15th birthday celebration held in August we want to keep it simple for the end of year gathering, so we will ask everyone to bring a plate.

More information to come soon.

7. Ark session calendar

14th to 22nd October: New Zealand Conservation week

Thursday 19th October, volunteer session 8:30am, baiting in N block

Saturday 21st October: Labour Weekend, no volunteer session

Saturday 21st October: dawn walk at the Ark (fully booked)

Thursday 26th October: volunteer session 8:30am, baiting in N block

Saturday 28th October: special volunteer session held at Matuku Link, 8:30am, installation of bait stations

Thursday 2nd of November, volunteer session 8:30am, new Pig Wallow block (PW) navigating

Saturday 7th of November: no volunteer session

Thursday 9th of November, volunteer session 8:30am, new Pig Wallow block (PW) navigating

6th of 12th November: rat monitoring in northern Ark (weather permitting)

Saturday 11th November, volunteer session 8:30am, rat monitoring in northern Ark

13th to 19th November: rat monitoring in southern Ark (weather permitting)

Thursday 16th November, volunteer session 8:30am, rat monitoring

Saturday 18th November, volunteer session 8:30am, rat monitorin

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