The Ark Celebrates 15 Years:

The Ark celebrated our 15th birthday on Saturday the 5th of August.

You can see some photos from the night on our facebook pagehere.

The fire was lit, people got refreshments from the bar and settled in to hear our guest speaker James Russell’s excellent talk. James works with Auckland University, the National small mammal challenge, ZIP and predator free NZ so he was able to give us an exciting insight into the possibilities of future predator control. James also had a humorous take on global events of the past 15 years for us to reflect on.

After the guest speaker there was a round of 15 bingo style questions relating to people’s experiences in the Ark. Well done to the winning table!

It was then time for soup, sandwiches and plenty of chat. The night wrapped up with birthday speeches from Gillian, Laurence, Karen Colgan, John Staniland and John Sumich followed of course with slices of birthday cake for all.

The final tally of guests was around 115 and it was great to see people from the early days of the Ark as well as some who had joined only the week before!

Thank you to all of you for coming and making it such an enjoyable night. In particular we would like to thank all the soup makers and cake bakers, as well as the people named below:

Rosemary Stagg: Catering manager

Wendy Callaway, Sheryl Tapp, Karen Colgan and Yvonne Vaneveld: Catering, serving and clean up assistants

Elaisa Glampe: DOC200 themed birthday cake baker

Colleen Pratt: Super vacuum cleaner operator

John Sumich: Bingo master

Annalily van den Broeke and Anko Hanse: Additional seating source and delivery

Mike Siddens and Zena: Set up and pack down whizzes

Ken Harrop: Catering assistant and parking warden

Maurice Colgan: Number cruncher who provided some great summary data of trap catches, we will circulate this in future bulletins

F&B Waitākere branch: projector and sound equipment loan

John & Karen Staniland: Lead singers in the rendition of Happy Birthday.

Thanks also to Josh at Waitākere Golf Club for being so hospitable.

Apologies to anyone we may have inadvertently left off the list.

Kokako Census: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.

One of the founders, Kiwitea - Photo Deja Rivera

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!

Rat Population Trends:

Thank you to trappers for sending through your catch reports, and to Maurice Colgan for compiling all the data. There is no sign of an undue build up of numbers at the edges of the Ark, and internal catches are tracking normally, with a steady drop since baiting was resumed in Spring.

Right now in the Ark...

Rodent baiting:

TheSpring baiting is now well underway. All indicators are showing a slightly higher ratpresence than usual.

Robin Monitoring:


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 83 mustelids, and 354 ratscaught in the year ending 30 June 2016.

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

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