Ducks Unlimited
Friday, 23 February 2018 08:25

Protecting our water birds

Written by Peter Russell
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Whio News 2015

At Oparara/Ugly a 1080 drop in November 2014 was a success with rat numbers reduced from 58 before the drop to 0 after. Scott Freeman reported that summer was the best recorded at the site with 40 wild ducklings and five whione duckling released. Another 1080  drop was planned for this summer.

Kate Steffens reported from the Wangapka/ Fyfe site with very few floods and a dry summer they had the most productive whio season since monitoring began in 2003, with 36 fledgling from 16 pairs, and nine Whione juveniles were released from three clutches.

At the Te Urewera Whirinaki area they set up an entire site in one year instead of two. They installed 1600 double set DOC200s and needed volunteers to help with that. The heavy traps ranged between 16-24kg and had to be carried into the sites. 

Tim Allerby reported the traps caught well. One block caught 26 stoats during one trap check.

Sara Treadgold reported a total of 22 confirmed whio paris were see within the Manganui o te Ao – Retaruke security site. This included 25 ducklings seen over the season.

Predator control saw 120 mustelids and 1372 rodents caught between July 2014-April 2015.

Tongariro Forest Security Site

Mild weather during spring along with a  1080 drop in August and a trap replacement programme saw a total 215 ducklings with 185 surviving to fledge.

A new trap line was installed on the Whakapapanui in Whakapapa Village run by Whakapapa residents. Interesting was the arrival of a whio of very pale colouring and paired up and set up territory on the Whakapapanui. (See Flight 162 p5.)

Egmont National Park Whio Recovery

The whio population at Egmont had a similar  breeding success to the previous season and the census resulted in 86 whio being captured. Of these 31 were adult males, 31 were females and 17 were juveniles. (See Flight 163 p7.)

Egmont whio monitoring presents considerable effort with breeding across eight rivers within the National Park. From September 2014 to March 2015. A total of 32 pairs were located, an increase of two pairs on the previous season. A census was conducted with support and expertise of many whio practitioners and support from the Central North Island Blue Duck Trust. A total of 86 whio were captured though out the duration of the census.

Three adult birds caught were injured, two with  head wounds consistent with injuries by stoats.

Captive breeding

Seventeen juveniles (including three females),  were released into the Park. Ten whio including one female were released into the upper Waiwhakaiho River and seven including two females into the Little Maketawa Stream in February.

The trap network within Egmont National Park is serviced and maintained and since July 2014 trap catches were 245 stoats, 0 ferrets, 28 weasels, 16 cats and 1670 rats. Trap checks have continued for the 42 trap boxes on farmland. 

Emily King

The 2014 season had been the best yet with 39 ducklings reared and 37 released back to the wild. These were from four pairs with Mt Bruce’s pair having three clutches and producing 16 young. A record for a pair in one breeding season. Peacock two pairs produced 18 and Orana Park pair produced five.

The big event for 2015 was the opening of the hardening facility at the Tongaririo Trout Hatchery which has turned out to be a great asset for getting captive juveniles ready for release.

Peter Russell

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