Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Orokonui Ecosanctuary (column)

By Sue Hensley

Last month's talks and workshops proved popular and others planned for
July include a fern workshop, a winter walk off the beaten track and
fun family activities such as frog frolics and native nibbles.

An amazing array of fungi were collected by the Botanical Society
group for the workshop with David Orlovich. Among them an edible
bolete, bright red and yellow fungi and one that smelt like almond
icing (a good clue as to its deadly intent!).

The moss workshop with Maia Mistral also threw up some surprises.
Under the microscope we saw a sporophyte (the little stalk that sticks
up from a moss patch) open its mouth (operculum), bare its teeth
(peristome) and release its spores.

Many native trees have not fruited well this year and as a result the
hungry silvereyes, bellbirds and tui have been entertaining us with
their antics at the sugar water feeder. Even Mrs Mihiwaka (the kaka
which nested on the hill) has returned after an absence of seven months to
tuck into the supplementary food.

Six robins have been seen back in their Silverpeaks home with one at
Orokonui amongst the pines on the hill at the northern end. Let's hope
it stays there.

The rats are still with us in selected areas and Elton our
conservation manager is concocting various and devious plans to deal
with them, including feeding outside rats with a dye just to check
we're not getting rats in through some unknown breach.

The Rotary Club of Dunedin, although formally having handed over the valley
track, is still generously supporting work there and recently another
helicopter drop of gravel was undertaken in order to complete
surfacing of the track.

The Visitor Centre and Café are open every day 9.30am - 4.30pm. The Centre is
free to explore as is the Pa Harakeke walk (Flax Plantation) and the
9km perimeter track. Guided and unguided walks are available. We have a
Facebook page as well as a website www.orokonui.org.nz to keep you up
to date.

From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media:
voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff,
Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
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