The weather was kinder to us on this trip. Sunday was a highlight with sunny conditions after overnight rain. Cool and cloudy Saturday. 

This was our biggest group yet at 22 people. There were jobs for everyone – there was a big workload. Our key focus was on installing 100 white-faced storm petrel burrows. Almost everyone was involved in this at some stage. These were dug in under the low-growing trees surrounding the petrel station (shed). Holes were around 40 x 23cm and around 40 cm deep. The depth was to allow for around 20cm of gravel at the base – to prevent flooding. A 75cm long entry pipe was dug in too. Each burrow took a good 20-30 minutes to install. 

The burrow installation was lead by Helen. She ensured that the very particular requirements for these burrows were understood and implemented. We are incredibly fortunate to be able to draw on Helen’s expertise and people management skills on such projects.

Philippa, Richard, Steve and Anne-Marie, Mike and Christine, Adrian, Lynley and Guy, Laurent and later Annemieke, Nancy, Jess, Amber and Cherie worked on this project. This was tough work – lots of tree roots and quite difficult to remove soil from such a small hole.

Annemieke led the ngahere gecko monitoring group. They found one ngahere. This group also marked and GPSd a number of gecko covers which hadn’t been recorded by Trent. Their search for speckled skinks revealed raukawa geckos and grass and copper skinks but no speckled. Great work by this team – Annemieke, Jess, Nancy, Amber and newbie Cherie. 

Will lead a group of around 12 on Friday night at the flax weevil research site – searching the 80 mature flaxes for invertebrates and lizards. Christine, Mike, David A and Will spent Saturday and Sunday mornings monitoring the pitfalls at the base of the 80 mature flaxes.

David C spent his time between shovelling fine gravel into bags for Otis to ferry up the hill on the rhino to the white-faced storm petrel site and setting up his mini sound system in a variety of locations to attract fernbirds. I believe he found around 10 birds, widely dispersed around the island. 

Colin once again shared his knowledge of things Mana on numerous occasions, often with the larger group. Christine and Mike went with Colin on Friday night and Amber and Cherie on Saturday, to see diving petrels up close and find out about Colin’s work with these birds. It’s great to have someone so knowledgeable present regularly and ready to share.

Colin and David A did the monitoring of the flax plantings. The flax weevils have dealt to almost all flaxes at the southern end of the island. The two pulled out planting tubes of the dead plants. Waratahs will come out next.

Peter and Adrian assembled the 50 plywood burrows provided by Plimmerton Shed. Otis transported these to the site. 

As usual there was an excellent range of food to choose from at the evening meals and a convivial atmosphere. A happy and tired group posed for the group shot below, taken by Otis.

Dale Shirtliff, FOMI Executive

Thanks to Dale Shirtliff and to Christine Jacobsen for the photos used here and in the video. 

Burrow for white-faced storm petrel, being installed.

More burrows being installed.