Newsletter June 2014

Newsletter June 2014

2014 June news letter.pdf - Adobe Reader

In this newsletter:

2014 June news letter.pdf - Adobe Reader

Our secretary resigns
The Weka Watch picnic
Our AGM and Graeme’s talk
2014 counts
Our banded birds and others
Our trap lines
Talks to kids

Farewell to Barbara and thank you.
The committee has regretfully accepted Barbara Strong’s resignation from the position of minute’s secretary. Barbara has supported WekaWatch from the start (early 2009) and is the only secretary we have had. She was a trapper for a time with her husband Noel and she still wants to be involved in our counts. Thank you Barbara for all your work!
We are very fortunate that Yvonne Taylor, one of our local members and a long time resident of Te Papa Road (weka territory), has agreed to step up and fill this important role. Thank you Yvonne!

Annual picnic
28 of us spent a wonderful summer evening at the Coory’s lovely home, enjoying the chatter, a glorious sunset, and the bird life including a weka of course. Thank you Phil and Nova!

AGM and talk.
The business of our AGM was over in record time thinks to the remarkable skills of Kevin our chairman, so we were able to move very quickly into the highlight of the afternoon, the talk by Ann and Basil Graeme- Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs- reintroducing North Island Weka.
Basil introduced the rail family and explained the links with our weka. Then Ann talked of their vision back in 1989 to reintroduce North Island weka to different parts of the mainland North Island. Their struggles and successes were fascinating to hear about. You can read more on the website http://www.wekawatch.co.nz/latest/
Special mention was made of Elaine Staples, an early volunteer weka breeder who travelled from Paeroa to attend the meeting. She recorded her experiences in a series of newspaper articles in the local press. You can access these on http://www.ohinemuri.org.nz/wekawatch/weka_frames.htm.

2014 counts

A full count report is on the website by clicking  this link   Weka counts 2014    but in summary

• We covered the 11 sites in our core area in 3 nights, only one of which was spoilt by wind.

• We also got to Orere on a fourth night.

• The number of weka counted in 2014 was very much lower than last year which in itself had seen a 25% drop from 2012. We guess that this drop (130 to 99 to 42 over the 3 years) can be blamed on the two successive years of drought. The number of pairs too was low.

• Numbers at Orere were also down and no pairs were heard.

• The low call numbers were either because the birds were not there, or they were lacking the energy or too busy foraging to call.

 

Our banded birds and others
Yorica the doughty female banded in February 2010 has changed partners again but has stayed in much the same area. In 2012 Wilson came off worst in a territorial fightshe spurned Boy, her partner of 3 years, for a younger bloke, Wilson. Wilson has recently moved territories and was seen about a month ago bearing severe scarring on his head (see photo) and Yorica has taken up with an even younger chap, George (he is the son of William and Kate, and grandson of Lizzie and the Duke but that is another story). George bears no scars so we assume the fight between the two males was very one sided. The good news is that now, a month later, Wilson is bearing a full head of feathers!

 Our trap lines

Thank you again to all our trap line volunteers. The 110 Doc traps are visited at least monthly and the data on captures then saved on a computer; data loading is far less fun than retrieving the successes in the field.
4 ferrets, 2 stoats and 1 weasel, along with 46 hedgehogs and 76 rats makes a good start to our war against predators in 2014.

Orere near the dairy

New signs

Last letter we reported on our new pictorial signs. We said “The wheels of Council seem to grind at the same rate as those of God, but after more than a year of negotiating, our Council contact Michael ….”
We now have two yellow diamonds at Orere Point – magnificent! Thank you again Michael! (See photo)
But there is also a lengthy saga of a yellow sign fixed to an old power pole on the Coast Road. When the pole was replaced the sign was put back facing in the wrong direction. How to get it reversed? A direct approach to Vector did not work – the pole job had been done by subcontractors from Hamilton and as no one was without electricity it was not a Vector problem.
Once again Michael came to our rescue. He found that the chain of communication involved us, him (=Council), Vector, and finally Auckland Transport because it is a road sign!!! It would have been easier to souvenir the sign and start from scratch, asking for a new one. Thank you Michael for your efforts over 6 long months! The sign now faces oncoming traffic on the Coat Road as it should.
But there is also a lengthy saga of a yellow sign fixed to an old power pole on the Coast Road. When the pole was replaced the sign was put back facing in the wrong direction. How to get it reversed? A direct approach to Vector did not work – the pole job had been done by subcontractors from Hamilton and as no one was without electricity it was not a Vector problem.
Once again Michael came to our rescue. He found that the chain of communication involved us, him (=Council), Vector, and finally Auckland Transport because it is a road sign!!! It would have been easier to souvenir the sign and start from scratch, asking for a new one.

Thank you Michael for your efforts over 6 long months! The sign now faces oncoming traffic on the Coast Road as it should.

Year 3 Everglade School sponsored a trapPublicity
Our weka story is always being spread far and wide.
Ian Southey presented a paper on our project here in Kawakawa Bay to a discerning and critical audience at the annual conference of the Ornithological Society of NZ. His analysis of 9 years of results has led to some interesting discussion in committee as to where we go from here. Rosemary and John tackle the younger fry. Firstly it was 75 Year 3 pupils at Everglade Primary School, a large but very attentive group, who made a donation of $50 to WekaWatch. One of our DOC traps will bear their photo and a note to say they are the sponsors. Rosemary and John also spoke to 11 members of the St John Clevedon Youth Division who are doing an environment badge. One youngster summed up the night with glowing eyes “We got to kill the rabbit 9 times!” Our demonstration Perspex-topped DOC trap is a winner every time!
Subscriptions
The annual subscription is just $20.00 per household.
If you have not yet renewed your subscription for 2014, or should you want to join us, you can pay on line. Our ASB account number is – 12 3031 0137652 00. Please be sure to tell us who is paying and send us your contact details.
Alternatively make cheques out to: WekaWatch Kawakawa Bay Inc
Our mailing address is: WekaWatch Kawakawa Bay Inc, C/- Kawakawa Bay Post Centre Kawakawa Bay, 2138
You may choose to add a donation to your membership. Your added support is greatly appreciated. We are a registered charity and donations over $5.00 qualify for a rebate from the IRD. If you need a receipt please be sure to email us your postal address.

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This really helps reduce our costs.

Subscription $ 20.00
Donation $_________
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Remember that as well as your subscription we welcome your physical support, especially at count time in the autumn.

Email us on wekawatch@paradise.net.nz
Phone 09 2922 512
Visit our website www.wekawatch.co.nz

 

WekaWatch Kawakawa Bay Inc.

 

February 2014

 

 

 

For more information, or if you have any weka sightings, please contact us at

wekawatch@paradise.net.nz or ring 2922512

 

 

  Our banded birds

Our newest trap line 34 traps are out on the Richardson’s property.  Thanks to George Richardson and his quad bike with trailer which made the setting out so much easier.

  The line consists of three spurs running down from ‘the trig’ – Mataikokako 355 m – so checking this line involves a good walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lila Holden, our youngest WekaWatch member, is getting bigger and she still takes her weka watching very seriously!

   

 Weka Killed on Kawau Island There was a lot of publicity in the papers over the trial of a dog owner on Kawau Island.  He was found guilty of two charges of allowing his dogs to enter a reserve on the island and kill 14 endangered weka, – a charge that carries a maximum penalty of three years in jail and/or a $20,000 fine.  Kawau Island is home to more than a third of the North Island weka population. North Island brown kiwi are also found on the island, and both species are vulnerable to dog attacks. It was interesting to learn that with the advances in DNA analysis it may soon be possible to determine the breed of a dog that has inflicted injuries on a bird.  Should anyone find a dead weka that may have suffered a dog attack, before handling or moving  the body in any way please phone 2922 512 and let us know.  We have been given instructions on what to do to maximise the chance of getting reliable DNA samples from any tooth imprints on the carcass, evidence that might stand up in court. 

WEKA RECORDERS’ LAMENT 

No feathers, no beaks, no brown button eyes,

No banded legs spotted at all.

But we know they’re still with us, we’re not telling lies.

We’re deafened by loud weka calls!

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