Firstly a big thank you to the organisers of a most successful AGM in Palmerston North. It is always great to catch up with friends again from the wetland and waterfowl fraternity and without your ongoing support Ducks Unlimited would not survive.
The bus trip to Michael Burke’s property to view his magnificent man made wetland complex was appreciated by all. Emma Williams Sunday morning talk on her bittern (matuku) study at Lake Whatuma, Central Hawke’s Bay and her excellent rendition of a male bittern booming was appreciated by those present. Ducks Unlimited and Wetland Care NZ are major sponsors of the bittern project and once again show that we are leaders in threatened bird species conservation in New Zealand having previously initiated action with pateke and whio.
It has been a relatively dry winter in most regions which delayed the onset of breeding for many species of waterfowl, but heavy rain in late September-early October spurred things along. The shallow ephemeral wetlands topped up at this time of the year are so important for waterfowl and other species like eels. Only one morning recently, with assistance from two young grandsons, I emptied 181 small live eels from two fyke nets set overnight in water 0.3 metres deep on the edge of Lake Whatuma which highlights just how productive ecologically these shallow wetlands are.
Just as well we have organisations like DU championing the importance of these areas.