Sunday, 22 November 2009

OROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY column

OROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY

by Sue Hensley

The first month of operation since opening the Visitor Centre has seen a mix
of frantic activity, interspersed with quieter moments and the sorting out
of the inevitable teething problems associated with a new building,
equipment and software. Overall however it has been a very successful
launch.

The Ecosanctuary is open exclusively for guided tours at present although
work is progressing on tracks, brochures, and signage etc to allow for
freedom walkers and it is hoped that this work will be completed by Feb or
March 2010.

November-December is chick time at the sanctuary and tours regularly
see bellbird
and tomtit chicks calling and begging for food from parents. All four kaka
females are also nesting with 2 chicks already hatched. It will be
February before
we see most of these chicks outside their nests.

At least three tieke/saddleback chicks have left their nests, which is a
significant happening and confirms that rat numbers are low. Rat footprints
were found on less than 1% of ink cards put out in November and while this
decline is encouraging they are not yet down to the undetectable levels that
we are aiming for.

This year has seen huge changes and the many hours of volunteer labour has
contributed to all of these. To all of you wonderful and generous volunteers
– a big thanks from the staff, Trust, as well as the flora and fauna. Have a
safe and wonderful festive season.

If you're one of those early birds already thinking of Christmas presents –
give an Orokonui Ecosanctuary gift voucher for a tour or a fencepost plaque
this year. The Visitor Centre shop has a good range of gifts that also
support the work of the Ecosanctuary.

Information about Orokonui is available at www.orokonui.org.nz and the
Visitor Centre and café are open 9.30 – 4.30 daily, (please check statutory
holiday days).

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