In the world of Little Blue Penguins, males arrive at nest sites first. Nests are prepared and territories formed with displays used to attract mates and deter the competition. Once established, the penguin pair continue to embellish their nest with leaves, twigs and even the odd ponga frond. This is the second year that we have filmed the penguins in this box and they are currently working all night long to complete their nest. Can you spot the third penguin entering the nest box (maybe last years chick or perhaps a friendly neighbour?)
We know that Vespex will be extremely effective on the Sanctuary but we want to aim bigger… we want to get rid of wasps from the whole of Picton and Waikawa. By targeting a larger area, it will reduce reinvasion of wasps onto the Sanctuary but it will also benefit the wildlife around Picton and Waikawa, and it will make fish and chips on the foreshore much more enjoyable.
To achieve large-scale wasp control, we need help. Once testing shows the right level of wasp numbers, 520 bait stations will need to be placed across Picton and Waikawa including The Wedge, Victoria Domain, Essons Valley and urban areas. We are looking for people who are keen to help with this process but we are also looking for people who would like to host a bait station in their own backyard. The map below gives an indication of where bait stations are likely to be placed, if you would like to help please give us a call.
The total cost of this control programme will be around $3,500 and we believe that this is an achievable figure. We have already received a donation from The Veronica Trust but every little bit helps. If you would like to donate funds to help us achieve a wasp free Picton/Waikawa then please contact us.
For more information about Vespex visit their website.
Monitoring bird numbers help us to see tell if our trapping programme is successful. Each year volunteers carry out bird counts to determine the number of birds across the Sanctuary and the resulting movies (below) show bird-count heatmaps over time. The timeline across the top shows the year, with key dates giving an insight into the fluctuations of bird numbers.
2006: the establishment of the Sanctuary
2008: the predator proof fence was installed
2012: an intensive pest eradication programme began
2013: the Sanctuary was opened to the public
Thanks to CatchIT Graphics, we can also see the number of pest species across the Sanctuary. Below is a link to the heat maps and graphs showing the number of rats, mice, stoats and possums caught.
You know that feeling...when you've just got home and you know you have to look after the kids but you really don't want to (not just yet anyway) so you delay walking in the door...until you are sprung...and then you settle in for the night and a late night visitor pops in.
Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary at the head of Picton harbour became the newest crèche for endangered rowi kiwi today. The Department of Conservation, Kaipupu Point Mainland Island Society, Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio and Te Ātiawa invited the public to join the celebration and blessing ceremony which was held at Waikawa Marae and provided a great opportunity to see the young rowi chicks.
Two four-month-old rowi were part of the blessing ceremony and afterwards were released onto Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary. A total of nine juvenile rowi are the first to be sheltered at the sanctuary.
Predator-free Motuara Island in the Marlborough Sounds has been the main crèche location for juvenile rowi kiwi until this point.
DOC South Westland Operations Manager Jo Macpherson says more space is needed for juvenile rowi due to the success of the DOC and Kiwis for kiwi rowi programme in increasing the numbers of New Zealand’s rarest kiwi from below 200 to more than 400.
“An increasing number of rowi are being hatched from eggs collected in Ōkarito Forest and Motuara can’t accommodate them all.”
“We are capping the number of juvenile rowi on Motuara at 50 birds to ensure they can all get enough food to eat which for kiwi includes insects, grubs, and worms. Having another crèche site at the Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary also provides insurance should anything such as disease threaten the kiwi on Motuara.”
Kaipupu Point Mainland Island Society Chairman Barry Maister said to become a rowi crèche was a significant milestone for the Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary.
“This is incredibly exciting and a testament to the many thousands of volunteer hours trapping and pest monitoring on the sanctuary over the last 11 years. From day one of the project we have looked forward to the time we could welcome kiwi onto Kaipupu Point.
“Our ongoing commitment to predator control means we can offer a safe crèche scenario for juvenile rowi.”
Through the Kiwis for kiwi Operation Nest Egg programme, rowi eggs are taken out of Ōkarito Forest and hatched at the West Coast Wildlife Centre. The chicks are then moved to Christchurch’s Willowbank Wildlife Centre where they begin to learn to care for themselves while being monitored by carers. Then the juvenile kiwi are kept in predator-free sanctuaries until about a year old and 1 – 1.5 kilogrammes in size when they are better able to defend themselves from stoats.
Commonly confused but with quite different histories, the South Island Robin and Chatham Island Black Robin belong to the Petroicidae family which also includes Tomtits. As the name suggests Chatham Island Black Robin are endemic to the Chatham Islands and are restricted to two islands, Rangatira and Mangere Islands. In contrast, South Island Robin are found in South Island forests north of Arthurs Pass, in Fiordland and on Stewart Island, more commonly where Stoats and Rats are controlled.
Physically these two Robin species are very similar in size, with South Island Robin slightly heavier than their Chatham Island counterpart. South Island Robin are a sooty black with a cream breast and the Black Robin is entirely brownish-black. While the Black Robin has a tidy cup-like nest made from bark, moss and spiderwebs lined with feathers the South Island Robin’s nest is a scruffy collection of twigs, branches, leaves and moss surrounding a small cup-like nest built by the female.
The Robin’s habit of feeding amongst leaf litter collecting larvae, insects, worms and spiders puts them at risk of predation by mammalian predators. This predation is thought to be the reason for the decline, almost to the point of extinction, of the Chatham Island Black Robin. A huge effort began in the 1980’s to bring this small songbird back from the brink of extinction when only seven birds remained.
Old Blue, the only surviving female plus six males were transferred from Little Mangere to Mangere Island to aid conservation efforts. Eggs laid by Old Blue were placed in Tomtits nests to boost egg production and by 2013, the Black Robin population was estimated at 250 birds. Due to their limited genetic diversity Black Robin are vulnerable to diseases and are classified as critically endangered.
Although South Island Robin are classified as not threatened, this trusting bird is still at risk of predation by rats, stoats, possums and feral cats. Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary is now home to the South Island Robin with 24 birds transferred on the 1st of March 2016.
Above Left: South Island Robin, image by Heather Smithers
Above Right: Chatham Island Robin, image by Dianne John
About the Sanctuary
Established in 2005, Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary is the closest sanctuary to Picton. Protected by a pest resistant fence, Kaipupu Point is a safe haven to many native plant and animal species.