by Sue Hensley
Noise of a mechanical kind will be heard from the Orokonui Ecosanctuary 1-7 April. Four artists: Dave McGhie from Wellington, Russell Moses, Port Chalmers, Rory McDougall, Hokitika, and our very own Tania Turei from Waitati will be creating sculptures with natural materials in a modern way. Come and watch the sculptors at work. Cost is included in the usual gate entry price. Also, Russell Beck, author, former director of Southland Museum and well known carver, will talk about his work on Sunday 7 April at 1:00pm in the Visitor Centre.
The robins have had another good breeding season and the occasional bird has been seen on the top tracks. As numbers increase we expect to see more birds adventure out of their preferred pine habitat. The saddleback story is a little gloomy with neither female from the December Ulva Island transfer having been sighted recently. Perhaps female saddlebacks are more choosy than we think? One saddleback pair remains at the lower end of the reserve, although there is a strong suggestion that both are males.
Many of the kiwi-call monitoring team are on a steep learning curve identifying the sounds of the night. Although there are only half a dozen or so noisy night creatures they make up for it in having varied calls. Even the native owl, the morepork or ruru makes several calls other than the commonly known "more-pork". Listeners were treated one night to a long chorus of calls and responses from at least four birds in the area. One bird called more than 60 times. Leader Val Fay also had one perch not far from her.
The honey fragrance of the Easter orchid is once more in the forest and the track to an easily seen one is now open.
News and events can be found on www.orokonui.org.nz or on our Facebook page. The Visitor Centre and café are open daily 9:30 – 4:30pm.