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Thanks to an active intervention program, at Whangarei Heads we really do have kiwi in our backyard.

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December 3rd, 2020

2020- November Report

Whitu steps out of the Limelight

Whitu and Kane McElrea 2012

Whitu’s chick 2019

We have been radio monitoring Whitu for 15 years now. He has been a fantastic ambassador for the kiwi at the Heads. Monitoring his movements and following his life has allowed us to tell his story. He has been able to engage with many, many people who have supported kiwi recovery and in particular controlled their dogs.  He was released as an adult at Jaggers’ farm in 2005 but after a year or so ended up at Reotahi where he found a mate beside the Reotahi carpark. They had 7 years of successful nests in the nearby pampas until a big rock slide must have killed her in 2014 (she was never transmitted). Whitu got on with life and moved over to the Freezing works ruins and found another mate and has been breeding with her ever since (their most recent chick hatched last month).   Whitu has successfully hatched over 13 chicks (many of which have been named by and after special local folks).  Whitu has another 30 or more years breeding in him but we have removed his transmitter so that he can carry on without being in the limelight – time for young kiwi like Teina and Ross to pick up that job.  I’ve attached a few pics of him from over the years – young Bill pointed out that when Whitu and I started we both had a full head of hair and now the pics show more than a few bald spots on both of us!

Read Whitu’s full story here!

Whangarei Heads Landcare groups Xmas do  

Hope that you can make it along this Friday at 5.30pm to the Tamaterau Reserve for our annual get together to celebrate all the great work going on in the Whangarei Heads and wider area.  If you haven’t already please let Kelly know that you are coming (for the sausage tally)

Replacement BYK road signs and Visitors’ dogs

Thanks to those that contributed to the purchase of the replacement Backyard Kiwi signs.  Thanks to Heather for the fantastic art work and Martin for putting them up.  It is going to be a busy summer for visitors so the signs are just in time to help our kiwi by encouraging careful driving at night.  Likewise there will be many visitors bringing dogs to the Heads – if they are staying with you or you see them out and about please politely remind them to keep their dogs under control on a lead. Please positively thank those responsible dog owners for doing the right thing for the kiwi.

Backyard Kiwi Predator Control Program:

The Manaia Kiwi Saver (1080) bait station pulse has had a good take by the rats and possums, this will in turn clean out any trap shy stoats giving us excellent kiwi chick survival rates this year. The stoat trapping network is still up and running in preparation for the dispersal of young stoats in the next month or so from areas that didn’t get a Kiwi Saver pulse. Catches for November: 2 stoats, 0 weasels, 1 cat, 56 rats, 6 hedgehogs, 11 possums.

What your radio tracked Backyard Kiwi have been up to:

With the nights getting shorter kiwi activity is slowing down – the rain in early November means that feeding conditions are much better than last year so the kiwi should be feeding up ok in the hours of darkness. Hopefully some more rain will keep things going. Likewise with the better feeding conditions the monitored kiwi are staying in their usual territories at this stage.

Whangarei Heads.

Ross – He is still high up in the valley at the end of Pepi road. No sign of nesting with 9 hours nightly activity.

Hancock – Still no signal since 4/8/20 even with wide and repeated searches.  Looking like transmitter failure.

Teina – He is still settled in the Owhiwa Road pine block but not looking like nesting yet.  9 hours nightly activity.

Malaika – She has remained in the Owhiwa Road pine block, 9 hours activity.

Beach Girl – Has remained on the ridge west of her usual area at Taraunui Road, 9 hours nightly activity.

Wally – This guy is trying to make up for 10 years without a mate and has already started his second stint of nesting for the spring- 30 days in on 19/11/20 with 2.5 hours nightly activity. His chicks that hatched last month have been named “Toa II” and “Manaaki” by the locals.

Harikoa – In her usual area of wetland/pines at the NE end of Campbell Road. 10.5 hours activity.

Pakipaki – Usual area in pampas/pines in the McLeod Bay Horse Paddock. 9 hours activity.

Whitu –  Bill and I caught up with him in the pampas above the ruins and removed his transmitter. He was feeding up after his recent nest and was a healthy 2200g.  His recent chick has been named “Mike” in honour of Mike Ferris who was started Landcare work at Little Munro Bay many years ago.

Rarewarewa/Purua- ONE Dads

6 chicks transferred to Limestone to date.

Nick – Usual area in Lovells’ bush, 7.5 hours nightly activity so he may be starting to re-nest.

Moeahu – Has moved back to the NE end of reserve – still no sign of nesting. 9.5 hours activity.

Sancho – In his usual nesting area at the NE end of the reserve. Nesting 33 days on 11/11/20.  A good low 3 hours activity.

Kimposter – Has finished nesting. Activity 9 hours, usual area above quarry.

Ngutu roa – Hatched two chicks after 83 days. Chick LC 2006 was transferred to Limestone on 11/11/20. LC 2007 was too young for transfer so was transmitted and left for another 12 days but dropped his transmitter in the paddock south of the reserve. He will have an excellent chance of surviving with the 1080 pulse there this season and good feeding conditions on the farm.

Ngaro – Usual area above the airstrip, Nesting 72 days on 23/11/20, 3 hours activity. Possible first hatch (minimal activity for a few nights) so will check in 10 days.

Moondust – Finished nesting in the gut behind the Irvine Road woolshed. He hatched two chicks after 83 days.  LC 2004 was transferred to Limestone via a quick visit to Purua School on 11/11/20 (Purua School named Moondust who lives in their backyard. What a neat little school of superbly behaved kids!). The younger chick, LC 2005, was transferred to Limestone on 23/11/20.

Gorgeous – As suspected he has started nesting again- 4.5 hours activity after 11 days nesting on 23/11/20

Limestone Island – Limestone Island has a new ranger; Jo Skyrme who is getting plenty of training on chick handling with the chick transfers. We also did Sir Ed’s transmitter band change as part of her training. Jo is picking things up quickly (see pic).

Matakohe/Limestone Island is a community run (FOMLI) kiwi crèche that allows us to grow chicks up for public releases in kiwi recovery areas.  These public releases and the follow up monitoring of the released kiwi are a cornerstone of our kiwi community engagement  so that we control our dogs and support stoat control. Remember to keep Sunday Feb 15 at 5.30pm free for our next public release.

Cheers Todd

Todd Hamilton.
Backyard Kiwi Project Manager,
Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum.

M 021 1145 385E


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