Volunteer News 23rd April

Hi all,

This email contains:

1. Latest and forthcoming sessions

2. Important baiting round update - please read!

3. Update from Ark’s A24 block (Pig Wallow block)

4. Shorebird workshops

5. 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 and forthcoming sessions

I hope you had a happy Easter. This week, there will be only one volunteer session as Thursday is ANZAC day and the Ark will be closed.

Next upcoming volunteer session is this Saturday, the 27th of April, meeting 8:30am at the ranger station. We will bait in T, F or Gleeson blocks. We will rewarded with a sausage sizzle when we come back.

Please note that this session is not for first time volunteers. Next induction session will be held on Saturday the 11th May.

Please let me know if you are coming to the Saturday session. 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.

2. Important baiting round update

The current baiting round, started early April, is a smart baiting round with a buffer zone at the periphery of the Ark and around main thoroughfares for rats ans stoats (reservoir, golf course).

However, while the first lines were being baited, we kept on communicating with specialists and knowledgeable people about the best way to approach the expected mega mast year. And we have finally arrived at the conclusion that it would be best to change the current smart baiting round into a full baiting round, still with the buffer zone, followed by another full baiting round.

There are two main reasons behind our decision. One is the higher risk of spreading the kauri dieback when it is very wet, thus we will stay clear of the bush during mid winter. The second one is the upcoming mega mast. We cannot tell in advance if we will be hit nor when. The current fact is that there is a lot of natural food available, so the chances are high that the rats will feed on them rather than on our bait - and thus thrive. When the food will become scare, they will turn into the bait stations but also the wildlife. We don't know when this occurs, but we want to be sure that there is fresh bait waiting in stations for when eating starts.

If we don't do a full baiting round now, some bait stations will have 9 months old bait in them by August (earliest time when we start our next baiting round) and that spans a winter when any bait that has holes in the bag will quickly go mouldy.

On the downsides, it's too late for the lines which have been already baited, although stations that had all bait eaten have by default been full baited. Also the periphery stations have at least one fresh bag of bait. As for the extra work a full baiting round will induce, baiters already carry all the bait needed, so they will have also to bring the old bait back.

Feel free to contact Gillian or me if you have any questions.

3. Update from Ark’s A24 block (Pig Wallow block)

Pig Wallow block is shown in orange at the scale of the Ark and then zoomed in.

The Goodnature self resetting traps (A24s) that were donated to us by Squawk Squad have now been in place since November 2017 in this block. The 60 traps are installed on a 50x100m grid across six lines, as shown on the map.

While the A24s don’t literally 'trap' the predators, instead firing a gas powered piston, we will refer to them as traps for ease of reference.

The traps are fitted with reporting nodes that communicate with two hubs and send the data back to a website. Encounter Solutions have provided the nodes and hubs and we are working with them on refining the reporting and data interpretation.

The photo shows an A24 with its reporting node and the Ark volunteers who installed it (Photo Seung Woo Hong):

Ark volunteer Stuart Rogers has been working both in the field and with the data collected from the website. Below are some interesting snippets that he has compiled. The data has been screened to remove triggers that don’t seem to be genuine ones.

Total number of triggers 12th July 2018 to 3rd March 2019: 171


This graph (above) shows in which hours of the night the most triggers occur, from which we can learn when rats are most active (9 and 10pm from this data).

This graph shows the number of triggers per trap, for each of the lines. There are more triggers on PW6 which is the outermost line so most affected by reinvasion.

4. Shorebird workshops

Two West coast workshops relating to New Zealand shorebirds will soon be held. These workshops are supported by the Waitākere Ranges Local Board, by Darryl Jeffries (Whatipu Dotterel Minder) and by Auckland Council’s Biodiversity Team.

Saturday 4th May, 9:30am, at Titirangi Beach (see flyer here).

Saturday 11th May, 1pm, at Karekare Beach (see flyer here).

The Titirangi session will primarily cover shorebirds and coastal related birds mostly within the Manukau Harbour area and the Karekare session as well as focussing on NZ Dotterel and other shorebirds, will also briefly touch on and have information available on the day about west coast Little Penguins, Tern species, and some locally recovering Petrel species.

You can simply attend the workshop but best is to register your attendance via one of the Facebook links directly (https://www.facebook.com/events/562850834237567/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/2318056201851105/ ) or else register your interest by email to biodiversity@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

These sessions will be suitable for anyone wanting to meet other shorebird enthusiasts, to learn more about shorebird identification, different monitoring techniques used for shorebird species and more on the ways in which we can contribute to help protect them.

8. Ark session calendar

Thursday 25th April: ANZAC day, no volunteer session

Saturday 27th April, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting

Thursday 2nd May, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting

Saturday 4th May, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting

Saturday 4th May: Titirangi Coastal Bird Workshop (Waitākere Ranges Local Board)

Thursday 9th May, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting

Saturday 11th May, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting and induction session

Saturday 11th May: Karekare Coastal Bird Workshop (Waitākere Ranges Local Board)

Thursday 16th May, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting

Saturday 18th May, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting

Thursday 23rd May, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting

Saturday 25th May, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting

Thursday 30th May, 8:30am, volunteer session: baiting

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc. Ark in the Park Project Website. All rights reserved.