Published:  

October 2018
These are the final reports for the Flesh-footed shearwater: various locations population project 2017/18.

Summary - Flesh-footed shearwater population monitoring on Ohinau and Lady Alice Islands

Flesh-footed shearwater
Flesh-footed albatross, Great Barrier Island (Photo: Dick Veitch)

This report covers the final year of population monitoring of flesh-footed shearwaters (Puffinus carneipes) on Ohinau and Lady Alice Islands carried out under Conservation Services Programme project POP2015-02. This is the second year of intensive monitoring for the entirety of the breeding season for both populations.

Some preliminary monitoring and banding of the Ohinau Island population was conducted in April/May 2016. A total of 228 study burrows were monitored on Ohinau Island and 230 on Lady Alice Island.

The breeding success on Ohinau Island was 68% this season, up from 51% in the previous season. Breeding success on Lady Alice remained relatively low at 52% compared to 50% in the previous season. The difference in breeding success between the two islands this season is possibly due to the effect that La Niña had on the different foraging areas
exploited by each of the populations. 98% of breeding burrows on Lady Alice Island and 88% of breeding burrows on Ohinau had both partners identified. 81% of birds that bred in 2016/17 bredbagain this season indicating most birds breed annually. A total of 1956 flesh-footed shearwaters have now been banded of both islands during the previous three breeding seasons. A population survey was conducted for Ohinau Island and there are an estimated 4007 occupied burrows, nearly twice as many as the previous two estimates conducted in the last 10 years. A population survey was also carried out for the LA1 colony on Lady Alice Island and there was an estimated 867 occupied burrows, eight times that which was estimated almost ten years ago. Further population surveys of other islands inhabited by flesh-footed shearwaters are warranted and monitoring of the populations on Ohinau and Lady Alice islands should continue.

Summary - Foraging distribution and behaviour of Flesh-footed shearwaters breeding on Lady Alice Island

The flesh-footed shearwater (Puffinus carneipes) breeds around New Zealand and Australia and is currently at risk from a range of threats, including fisheries by-catch and plastic ingestion. Recent population estimates indicate that this species is declining globally. New Zealand is a key population centre for this species, with many breeding colonies located on off-shore islands, including Lady Alice Island.

This report covers the final part of the objective to describe the at-sea distribution of flesh-footed shearwaters breeding at Northland breeding sites carried out under Conservation Services Programme project POP2015-02. A total of 24 flesh-footed shearwaters were fitted with GPS and GLS during incubation stage in January 2018 and this yielded 13 individual tracks. Foraging trips were on average 14.7 days long and an average of 4395km was travelled. Tracks varied between individuals and some foraging areas overlapped with those recorded during chick-rearing but overall a largely different foraging range was observed.

Foraging hotspots were on the west coast of the North Island between the Kaipara and Manukau Harbours and south to the Taranaki Bight. Foraging occurred predominantly during daylight with most of the night being spent resting on the water. The difference in foraging distribution between the two breeding stages may be explained by a dual-foraging strategy. Longer foraging trips were perhaps as a result of the La Niña event experienced this season and future tracking may yield a different result.

Publication information

Crowe, P. 2018. Flesh-footed shearwater population monitoring on Ohinau and Lady Alice Islands, 2016/17 report – June 2018. Report prepared by Wildlife Management International Limited for the Conservation Services Programme, Department of Conservation, Wellington. 23 p.

Crowe, P. 2018. Foraging distribution and behaviour of flesh-footed shearwaters (Puffinus carneipes) breeding on Lady Alice Island – January 2018. Report prepared by Wildlife Management International Limited for the Conservation Services Programme, Department of Conservation, Wellington. 21 p.

Contact

Conservation Services Programme
Department of Conservation
PO Box 10-420
Wellington 6143

Email: csp@doc.govt.nz


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