Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report – May 2013

ocean beach working beeThank you to all those keen and enthusiastic volunteers who turned out for the Ocean Beach working bee, twenty two in total. Four large trailer loads of invasive ice plant was completely removed and some was sprayed in the less sensitive areas. Pampas, gorse and lantana were also sprayed around the edge of the pine trees. A fantastic effort.

For our Seabird Survey Matt and Jess from Wellington set up three recording devices high on the ridge and recorded from dusk for two hours each day for five days. The recorders were funded by the NRC as part of our Kiwi Protection CPCA and have proved a valuable tool. The recorders are very sensitive and pick up a wide range of sounds; wind, rain, weta and we have even recorded a dog barking on a boat as it motored past Peach Cove, outboard roaring!

In this case four of the five nights provided calm enough weather to clearly hear what was going on. To our amazement Oi, or as they are commonly known grey-faced petrel (GFP), were recorded from all three sites and site number three in particular is very busy. We mounted an evening expedition to check them out and were stunned at what we heard. There are a lot of GFP present wheeling and diving in the evening sky and busily chatting to each other on the wing. Autumn is the time of year when the birds are pairing up and gathering over their burrow sites – prospecting. The presence of the birds at this particular time tends to indicate there may well be a remnant colony, it gives me goose bumps just to write those words!

The next step is to open up the existing bait line into the area and do some serious searching for the ground burrows they use each season. If the birds have been nesting in the area they will be coming under pressure from rats, possums and possibly wild cats but clearly the annual predator control work carried out by Keith Hawkins and Nigel Miller from the DOC Biodiversity team since 2002 has been enough to sustain them. GFP are actually listed in the 2002 Restoration Plan as a possible translocation species, so it is fantastic that they are still here and we are now in a position to really help them out.

Read the May 2013 Rangers Report in full (563kB pdf).