FOMI work trip 12-14 June 2020


First trip since the Covid 19 lockdown. Only 10 in the group and everyone was careful to observe the hygiene procedures promoted.

Travel day was quite cold and overcast. The usual Friday night critter monitoring at the flax weevil site was postponed until Saturday because of the cold conditions. Colin, Brittany and Sarah-Jane travelled up to check the diving petrels.

Saturday dawned cold, breezy and overcast. Will was finally able to get back on site to continue his flax weevil research project. Colin, Andrea and Sarah-Jane assisted, setting up the pitfall traps and later retrieving decades old shade cloth from Forest Valley. Still in good shape.

Brittany and Heather managed to check all the ngahere traps and the speckled skink pitfalls. David, Richard and Jaz spent Saturday clearing fluttering shearwater burrow lids and trenches. 10 lids were replaced and 4 burrows which had shown signs of flooding were dug out and had their gravel base replaced. Dale began weeding in the wetland and then planting seedlings at the fairy prion site, between the burrow lids. It is hoped this will give cover and protection and make them burrows more attractive to returning birds.

After yet another great meal all 10 set off to do a critter search at the flax weevil site (later joined by Nick). As it’s winter we didn’t expect to find much. The sky had cleared and the wind dropped – this made for chilly conditions. Quite a number of marked weevils were found (a sign that these small tags were durable) along with the spiders, slugs, raukawa, weta, a few goldstripes and of course, unmarked weevils.

Sunday began with blue skies, gradually warming temperatures and very little wind. A beautiful Mana day.

Heather and Brittany began the day weeding in the wetland. Will, Andrea, Colin and Sarah-Jane checked flax weevil site pitfall and closed them down. They also surveyed the 5 flax planting sites for survivors of the flax weevil plague. David, Richard and Jaz completed maintenance work on the fairy prion site with David planting more seedlings between burrows. This group travelled to the ngahere #16 post and restored the gecko fence sample.

Sixteen fernbirds were spotted over the weekend in several locations and another two heard but not seen. Nine were unbanded juveniles from the last breeding season.

We achieved all our targets +. Great to be on the island again.

Dale Shirtliff

 

June 2020 work trip crew

Banded fernbird

 

Planting, mostly taupata, at the fairy prion site.

 

David replacing burrow base material saved after replacing the gravel. This will ensure the burrow is familiar to returning birds.