Saturday, 23 January 2010

ŌROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY column

ŌROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY

by Sue Hensley

2010 is the beginning of a new decade and marks ten years since the first
tentative economic feasibility report suggested that a fenced sanctuary at
Ōrokonui was possible. The possibility is now a reality but the work goes
on. One of the priority projects at present is preparing for self-guided
walkers in Ōrokonui with a tentative February or March start date.
Development of
tracks, maps, pamphlets and signage is proceeding steadily. An exciting
guide for children is also being worked on by the Ōrokonui education team
led by Mount Cargill resident Mick Abbott.

Although this has not been a summer for humans the forest and birds thrive
in this atmosphere. Numerous bellbird, tomtit and rifleman chicks have been
seen begging for food from their tireless parents. Did you know that
fantails feed their chicks up to 100 times a day? Whew, makes me tired just
thinking about it!

The kākā breeding season continues with one pair re-nesting after successfully
fledging two chicks. Unfortunately all other nesting attempts have been
unsuccessful. One of those females (a cougar perhaps?) has laid more eggs
but hopes for a successful outcome are not high as her mate appears to be
last year's chick. He is really still a babe himself and unable to feed her
sufficiently. Kākā do not usually breed until four years of age although, where
populations are small or from aviary stock, odd things do occur.

The tieke/saddleback breeding season is over with probably 5 fledglings, 4
of them now banded.

The weather has made it difficult for pest monitoring and baiting. Delays
have been the order of the day while waiting for some settled fine weather
before putting out the footprint cards. The results from these cards will
determine whether the robin translocation planned for March will go ahead or
not.

Cafe and Visitor Centre are open seven days, 9.30-4.30. The Centre is free to
explore as is the Pā Harakeke walk (flax plantation), and the 9km perimeter
track. We also have a facebook page as well as a website
www.orokonui.org.nz to keep you up to date.

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Ā ā Ē ē Ī ī Ō ō Ū ū
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