News


Track Closures:

There are currently access restrictions in place over the Waitākere Ranges as a measure to limit the spread of kauri dieback disease.

Ark in the Park is operating on a limited basis to carry out essential pest control and monitoring work. We are still glad to have new volunteers join us, at certain times. Please contact us for more information.

You can read more about kauri dieback disease here: https://www.forestandbird.org.nz/campaigns/kauri-dieback

UPDATE: Under newly implemented operating procedures, baiting is being gradually re-launched. See Volunteer Bulletins


Ark in the Park end of year celebration!


We invite you to join us to reflect on the year, socialise, and most of all to allow us to thank you for your collective efforts and dedication over the year!

Rewi Spraggon, “Hangi Master”, will be preparing a delicious hangi meal on site for us.

When: Saturday 1st of December, from 5pm until dark.

Where: Picnic area near the main Falls Road carpark.

Bring: Picnic blankets or chairs, mozzie repellent, some warm clothing.

Cost: $10 per person. The total cost is $20 per head and the Ark will cover half of the cost.

RSVP essential, by 23rd November to nature.project@forestandbird.org.nz

For more details about the hangi tradition see http://hangimaster.co.nz/

Gillian and Laurence

ARK IN THE PARK

Physical address: Cascades Ranger Station

Falls Road, Waitākere

Phone: (09) 810 7014


Bird News:

Pōpokotea:



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! (report and photo above: Jacqui Geux).

Toutouwai:


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).

Kōkako:



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).

Threats

We need to address the fact that sadly there are currently major plant diseases threatening the Waitākere Ranges.

These are myrtle rust and kauri dieback disease.

Myrtle rust has not so far been found in the Ranges and volunteers have been advised to look for possible signs of it and report it to MPI.

As mentioned in recent bulletins, Kauri dieback disease is spreading at an alarming rate through the Ranges, with the number of known infected trees going from 8% to 19% between 2011 and 2016. In response to this situation, the iwi Te Kawerau a Maki have placed a rāhui (customary closure) over the forested areas of the Waitākere Ranges and Auckland Council have closed a large number of tracks. Many tracks and trigene stations will be upgraded. The Ark continues to operate under a warrant granted by the iwi in recognition of the predator control work that is essential in protecting our forests from the threats of predators.

It is an evolving situation and we will continue to work with iwi and Council to ensure kauri are protected.

Kokako Census:

The kōkako count has now concluded for the year and in the final week the team's persistence in the N block paid off with another 2 translocated birds and another Ark chick from a previous year being identified. Overall there were 13 pairs and 7 singles found this year.

It will soon be time for the great nest searching to begin!

Tally:Confirmed translocated birds: 16

Frances & Zelah, Aumangea & Thurley, Karen, Pierre, Ataahua, Maurice, Totara, Puke, Gordon, Ranginui, Kiwitea, Tahi Kaha. New this week: Manuka and Papari.

AiP Progeny: 6Putahi, Indigo, Kapua, Nina, WM-GY, Cloud.

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

• Adults: 17 to 19

• Sub-adults: 2


Kōkako nesting begins!

The kōkako nesting season has begun with a bang, we have three nests with chicks already!

One chick has been banded and is ready to fledge any day now. The other two nests have a one week and one day old chick respectively.

Contractors Dave and Amanda are working with a group of Ark volunteers to find, monitor and protect nests with extra traps.

Ataahua and Kapua’s chick is shown below. It was banded last week with the combination GG-MG.

You may remember that last year Francis and Zelah produced a chick which was discovered as a fledgling by a resident on Scenic Drive. They have continued to visit residents throughout the year, moving round to follow the availability of food throughout the winter. Francis and Zelah currently have a one week old chick.

The other pair with a chick is Gordon and Kiwitea, down in the Kōkako block.

Right now in the Ark...

Rodent baiting:

We are preparing to start our new baiting round, which will launched next week.

As you are aware, our first baiting round of 2018, the autumn round, was badly affected by both storm damage and kauri dieback. It was a slow and patchy baiting round which we completed near the end of the winter rather than the beginning of winter as usual. Because of this, the spring and summer rounds will be merged into a single round. It will be full baiting, with all the old bait being replaced with fresh bait.

Click here for baiting instructions.


Robin Monitoring:

robin2010

Every year since the first release of 53 robins in 2005 Ark volunteers (with overseas students a key element) have sought out nest sites and monitored the breeding success of the pairs - typically three clutches of 2-3 chicks per season. In the 2010 breeding season we located the nests of 11 pairs (and of course there will be a lot more we didn't discover), and new nesting territories, thanks to the efforts of volunteers who have spread out and found where the birds have settled. Anyone who is interested in helping should contact our Volunteer Coordinator. Volunteers need to have time available Monday to Friday, and to be fit enough to move off-track through our steep and slippery bush.

These birds are some of the most charming to be found in the New Zealand bush, with their quiet inquisitive nature making them easy to study and enjoy. Above is a picture taken recently by one of our star robin-finders, Grant Capill, who is shown to the right, hard at work or, just possibly, asleep.

Heidrun and Keryn have been doing a magnificent job on the Auckland City walk finding and protecting robin nests from stoats with John Stewart helping to band fledglings. On one day Heidrun saw 15 birds and one chick!

Rodent Monitoring:

Thanks to those of you who helped with rat monitoring. The April results are now in!

Rat monitoring inside the Ark: 19% (last monitoring in February gave a result of 6.4%)

Rat monitoring outside the Ark: 90% (last monitoring in February gave a result of 65%)

The rat presence outside the Ark is very high at the moment and we can hope that the double bagging at the periphery is helping to limit the rat re-invasion.

Meanwhile, the Stoaters continue to tramp around their circuits, with 88 stoats, 30 weasels, 2 ferrets, 27 hedgehogs, and 419 ratscaught in the year ending 30 June 2017.

Then there's the teams attacking weeds, navigators extending lines to fill in gaps..

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