Volunteer News 23rd January

Hi all,

This email contains:

1. Latest and forthcoming sessions

2. Birds ...

3. ... and bugs

4. Kauri dieback working group update

5. Squawk Squad: update on GoodNature traps

6. Hedgehogs: the often overlooked threat to natives

7. Ark session calendar

Happy reading!


ARK IN THE PARK Volunteer Co-Ordinator

Physical address: Cascades Ranger Station

Falls Road, Waitākere

(09) 810 7014

Web site Facebook Flickr

1. Latest and forthcoming sessions

A tropical weather system appeared on the scene last week and we had to cancel the Thursday session due to the associated heavy rain. We caught up with some of the work during the Saturday session, when we all went to the AWS block and baited most of the remaining lines. It was a challenging session, so thank you to the good number of brave volunteers who attended!

This week, there will be only a Thursday session, on the 25th of January, starting 8:30am at the ranger station. This weekend is Auckland anniversary weekend so we won't hold a volunteer session on Saturday.

On Thursday, we will bait in the KOK block, home to its namesake the kōkako and also to fernbirds.

Please let me know if you are coming to the Thursday session. Also please note that if you make a last minute decision or have an unexpected change of plans it's best that you leave a message on our phone 09 810 7014.

2. Birds ..

During early January, Jacqui Geux reported that our star, Mr Hot Pink on Beveridge Track, was still there and alone.

He was singing loudly high up in a rewarewa which looks over the Nihotupu Valley.

Maybe he's hoping his song will travel far and wide to attract a mate!

Also in early January, Jacqui Geux found an unbanded robin at Matuku Link. Its behaviour indicates it could be a female. The bird spent most of its time foraging on a rotten cabbage tree trunk growing through a totara, and also eating the large fungi that was growing on the cabbage tree (report and photo Jacqui Geux).

A very pleasant surprise yesterday was the discovery of a kōkako fledgling that was not previously known to exist. Its parents Francis and Zelah have become well known along Scenic Drive, nearby the Waitākere Dam Road, where several neighbouring houses have been reporting hearing and seeing them. However the birds managed to keep the fact that they were nesting secret! The three kōkako were seen yesterday on a Scenic Drive property feeding on a mahoe and then moving back together to the Ark side across the road (photo Amanda Rogers).

3. ... and bugs

Many of you will know about the Ark’s invertebrate monitoring programme.

The volunteers involved have been led by Don Morrison and guided by experts at Auckland University and Landcare Research. The team have even recorded the first instance of Leptotarsus zeylandiae (a Crane Fly) in the Auckland region!

Six lines of pitfall traps are studied. Three are inside the Ark and three are outside. Each line inside the Ark is paired with a line outside the Ark of similar forest type.

The monitoring programme is now in its 5th and final year. Thanks to Don for collating the following graphs from data gathered so far.

Three graphs show a monitoring line inside the Ark paired with its matching line of similar forest type outside the Ark. One graph shows the combined results for the three outside lines against the three inside lines.

The graphs can be viewed here however be warned that it is notoriously difficult to detect patterns or trends with invertebrate data!

4. Kauri dieback working group update

As we mentioned in December, following a public meeting initiated by Te Kawerau ā Maki, a working group was formed to focus on raising awareness of the plight of kauri. This group is made up of around 20 volunteers from wide ranging backgrounds. They have acted quickly and managed to get a number of things done.

5. Squawk Squad: update on GoodNature traps

You may remember that 60 A24s were installed during late November last year. They were donated to the Ark by Squawk Squad, a new social enterprise. You can follow the number of times the traps have fired at the Ark in real time on their web site:


6. Hedgehogs: the often overlooked threat to natives

In an article well worth reading, that was issued recently by Landcare Research (click here to read it), another facet of the friendly looking hedgehog is shown. Although they can get rid of the snails and the slugs in your garden, they are also predators of the wildlife, preying on a wide variety of native species, including invertebrates, lizards, and the eggs and chicks of a range of native birds. Different research, including videos captured in braided riverbeds shows that the hedgehog's predation rates are comparable to those of stoats, ferrets and cats ...

While pest control programs used to see hedgehog catches as annoying by catches, removing hedgehogs may actually have very significant biodiversity benefits.

Kararehe Kino Issue 30

7. Ark session calendar

Thursday 25th January, volunteer session 8:30am, baiting KOK block

Saturday 27th January: no volunteer session - Auckland Anniversary weekend

Thursday 1st February, volunteer session 8:30am, baiting CG blocks

Saturday 3rd February, volunteer session 8:30am, baiting CG blocks

Tuesday 6th February: Waitangi Day - Ark closed

Thursday 8th February, volunteer session 8:30am

Saturday 10th February, volunteer session 8:30am

Thursday 15th February, volunteer session 8:30am and scone party for Hayley

Saturday 17th February, volunteer session 8:30am

Thursday 22nd February, volunteer session 8:30am

Saturday 24th February, volunteer session 8:30am

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