The breeding season is always an exciting time at Orokonui with the riflemen, tomtits and especially the bellbirds being very conspicuous and even feeding chicks within full view of visitors.
The tiny robin population has been boosted with the addition of five Orokonui-born chicks and eight juveniles from outside. Radio tracking indicates that these younger birds are settling in more successfully than those translocated in autumn 2010.
Our best efforts to encourage the aviary kaka pair to breed have been unsuccessful and access to the aviary has been reopened. We also had a death late last year. This was a female who died of natural causes inside the ecosanctuary. However, one pair of wild kaka has produced three chicks this season, taking the wild population to 11 – three adults and eightjuveniles.
The kiwi remain hidden but leave their calling cards for us to see. Unlike flighted birds, kiwi lose their feathers very easily even through just being handled gently. Recently, we were excited to find several feathers found tangled on a hook grass, probably left by a kiwi coming to drink at the stream nearby.
Late last year Deb Wilson and John Innes of Landcare Research undertook an audit of pest eradication procedures and their findings were very supportive of our work. The next pest monitoring round has just taken place.
A Work 'n Weave day (weeding in the morning, weaving in the afternoon) is being held at the Pa Harakeke on Sunday Feb 6, beginning at 9.30am.
The Visitor Centre and café are open every day, 9.30-4.30. All day entry, annual passes and guided walks are available. Keep up to date with events on facebook and www.orokonui.org.nz.