Thursday, 22 September 2011

Orokonui Ecosanctuary

By Sue Hensley

Sirocco the kakapo's visit is drawing to a close at the time of
writing. Initially it took him a couple of days to settle in and
become confident in his new pens. Soon however he was skraaking in the
night, destroying astelias (eating the leaf bases) and enjoying a
nightly munch on the crown ferns (Blechnum discolor).

A morepork was attracted to the lights of his display pen, sitting on
a branch above waiting for moths to come in. On a couple of nights
kiwi were heard calling and some very lucky groups saw a kiwi out on
the track. Kaka too were heard, adding to the magical sounds of native
New Zealand at night.

Val Fay, maestro of all things planted and volunteer leader par
excellence, was suitably recognised at the recent conservation
volunteer night. She was the winner of the Coastal Otago Conservation
Award.

Volunteers are an incredibly important part of life and work at
Orokonui. It was underlined again with the Sirocco tours when a
committed band of volunteers (many locals included) aided the guides
and made the Sirocco experience an incredibly satisfying one. The
feedback indicated how much that extra help was appreciated even
though sometimes nothing was said at the time.

A special mention must go to Karin Ludwig who took up the contract as
kakapo minder. She has experience on several of the "kakapo islands",
been involved in kakapo research and minded Sirocco when he visited
Ulva Island. She harvested food for Sirocco, cleaned up after him,
talked to up to five groups a night and got very little sleep for the
whole month he was at Orokonui. Sirocco was the star but the
interaction between bird and minder was absolutely delightful.

News and events such as night tours, talks and social/ band evenings
can be found on www.orokonui.org.nz and facebook.

The Visitor Centre is open daily 9.30 – 4.30 (cafe 10 – 4).

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