Project update December 2013
Tieke/saddleback can be heard on Rangitoto's volcanic summit and throughout the bush on Motutapu. Their numbers are expanding thanks to a few successful breeding seasons including the latest one. All the birds that were re-introduced to the island in 2011 have coloured leg bands, so look out for the increasing number of 'island-born' birds without any bands.
Across the two islands increasing numbers of tui, tomtit, popokatea/whitehead and the 'self-introducers' korimako/bellbird and kakariki can be seen and heard.
Our young takahe population have all been showing great promise, with breeding behaviour from the majority of the 17 birds. Hoppers of chicken feed with night vision, movement sensitive cameras are used as a monitoring tool.
One of the eight Coromandel brown kiwi on Motutapu was also caught on camera near one of the takahe feeding hoppers. The majority of birds are still too young to be calling at night yet, although one was heard near Home Bay recently. We are hoping to translocate more kiwi from Moehau (at the top of the Coromandel Peninsula) to Motutapu in March-April 2014.
Shore plover are once again breeding on the island, now that pest animals like rats, hedgehogs and stoats have been eradicated. They lay their eggs and raise their chicks on the ground amongst the high tide mark and dunes, making them incredibly vulnerable.
The first shore plover chick to hatch was at Pig Bay – the northernmost location for shore plover in New Zealand. We hope to translocate more shore plover in early 2014 from Pukaha Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre in the northern Wairarapa.
Endangered New Zealand dotterel/tūturiwhatu are also increasing on the beaches of Motutapu with three pairs successfully breeding.
In the freshwater streams on Motutapu, native species must be thriving as a giant kokopu was spotted during a recent monitoring activity. This is the first discovery of this threatened species of native fish on Motutapu.
A pregnant red-finned bully was also found along with plenty of eels.
Over 120 of the threatened plant Euphorbia glauca were planted at Sandy Bay on Moutuapu in September with the help of the Auckland Zoo volunteers.
Before summer kicked in, work on protecting Motutapu's extensive wetlands was the focus, with help from the Motutapu Trust and DOC volunteers.
Motutapu's 141 ha of wetlands represent 6% of the Auckland Region's remaining freshwater wetlands.
Over 2,000 metres of new fencing has been built since 2011 to protect them from stock with a further 1,700 metres planned over the next 2 years.
Motutapu wetlands provide summer foraging for kiwi and takahe.