Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report September 2016

Bird breeding bonanza brings simply sublime September success!

Simply sublime September spring success!

The month of September 2016 will remain in my memory for a long time, never in my ranger career have I ever had so much going on and been involved with so much biodiversity success! The highlight has got to be the recently announced bird breeding bonanza with increased Grey Faced Petrel burrow and first time chick discoveries and the awesome news of North Island Robin nests, eggs and now chick sightings too!
Along with all this species outcome success has been all the amazing things going on at Bream Head with volunteers such as Northtec students involvement, new landcare group, new bird monitoring volunteer group and their training, Kauri Dieback survey and training, Robin public tours as part of Conservation Week and, outside the reserve, I enjoyed helping out with a toxin operation at Pukenui.

Bird Breeding Bonanza!

BHCT excitedly announced today that we have some awesome bird breeding news. Our North Island Robins (Toutouwai) are breeding and the first chicks have just been seen. Grey Faced Petrels (GFP) have come back in huge numbers, burrowed all over Bream Head and we can confirm 10 GFP chicks have been captured on burrow scope camera! This time last year the Trust sadly announced that the three GFP eggs found for the first time in decades at Bream Head had been destroyed by predation. Fast forward one year and we are so stoked to say that not only have we found nearly four times the number of burrows on last year in the same area but out of the 15 burrows we could check, there were 10 cute little bundles of grey/blue fluff sitting in them waiting for mum or dad to bring back a feed. Yip, we have 10 GFP chicks sitting out on the reserve! This awesome change in success is surely down to the introduction of intensive predator control to this area one year ago. This is one of the first recordings of naturally reintroduced GFP chicks at a Northland mainland site. We plan to band some of the chicks so we can monitor their future breeding success (GFP chicks usually return to their place of birth after 3-5 years and will breed at that site for life – approx. 40 years).

More Birdy Developments

Another awesome bird monitoring project has been recently picked up and rapidly implemented by some new (and existing) volunteers to the Trust. A group of passionate bird lovers has heeded the Trusts’ call for a new volunteer team to monitor the bird life at Bream Head through five-minute bird counts. Our amazing volunteer coordinator Melissa Arsenault has once again worked tirelessly to gather and provide training of a team to reinstate the bird counts that were once conducted by DOC at Bream Head. Mike Butcher has agreed to lead the project as a volunteer and is a very efficient person and keen local biodiversity enthusiast. Mike (along with his wife Jenny) has taken on the role of establishing the listening stations, communicating/coordinating with the volunteers in the group, recording the data and loading the data/GPS information up onto the national bird sighting database called ebird. This is fantastic for the reserve and our Trust as this places our recordings into a nationally recognised system.

Conservation Week Robin tours – another success

Bream Head Robin Tour Group robin-tours650x488Bream Head Conservation Trust was delighted to take out two public groups and show off our cool new North Island Robins as part of Conservation Week 2016. The first tour was conducted by Adam Willetts and the second by Ben Barr with help from Nathan Arcus (Northtec), James Allison and Wendy Holland (BHCT Volunteers). After an introduction at our headquarters and a brief tour of our workshop the groups were led up into the reserve to two Robin pairs known for their friendliness, and they certainly pleased the visitors!

Read the September 2016 Rangers Report (936kB pdf)  for more details on this and other stories.