1. Flock mating/natural pairing of Pateke was the key to the highly successful captive breeding programme – together with the enthusiasm of participants. Flock mating is now being used in a number of rare waterfowl recovery programmes.
2. Captive reared brown teal adapt readily to a wild environment, natural or created.
3. In Northland captive reared Pateke released at Mimiwhangata, Whananaki and Purerua between 1986-1992 survived for long periods and produced offspring – in spite of little predator control, with predator control Pateke are doing well.
4. Where predator control programmes have been in operation at suitably selected quality release sites in Northland (and more recently on the Coromandel) Pateke have survived very well and have successfully reared many progeny.
5. In the absence of waterfowl hunting and predators, captive reared brown teal released into quality Pateke habitat have few problems adapting to the wild.
6. A gradual transition from captive bred to wild, using pre-release pens and a supplementary diet was successful.
7. Brown teal are by far the most predator vulnerable species amongst all species of waterfowl
8. Captive reared teal released on off-shore islands that have suitable predator-free habitat survive and breed well.
9. When the release of captive reared Pateke into quality habitat is coupledwith predator control, a pre-release aviary, supplementary feeding and with the site having an adequate area for a significant population increase (such as at: Mimiwhangata, Purerua and Port Charles), the recovery process is a very simple one!
10. Between 1969-1992 it was learnt that releasing captive reared Pateke at a large number of unsuitable and disconnected habitats, with 35 different sites being used, achieved little, was counterproductive and very expensive.
11. Since the 2000 Audit of the recovery programme steady progress has been made towards increasing the wild populations of Pateke.
• Lack of continuity amongst Pateke management personnel and others directly involved in planning the survival of Pateke.
• Sites used were poorly selected.
• No pre-release study to see if there was an adequate food source.
• No pre-release study to determine whether the habitat was suitable.
• Little predator control and little knowledge of the subject.
• Little understanding about the main predators to control/ eliminate.
• Until early 2000 no sites had ongoing predator control.
• Many sites were out on a limb, with no wild Pateke in the area. • Many sites had no adjacent wetlands for progeny expansion or to which adults could escape.
• Many sites had no loafing facilities or aerial protection.
• Insufficient supplementary feeding of released birds. The value of this is recorded in a paper published in 2013.
• Pre-release aviaries rarely used.
• Competing waterfowl were present.
• Hybridisation with mallards and grey teal occurred.
• Instant dispersal of released birds occurred.
• A lack of ongoing support.
• A lack of monitoring of released birds.
Three years ago staff at Pukaha Mount Bruce had a huge surprise when a kiwi egg hatched and out came a pure white kiwi!
Manukura is a very special white kiwi, and she turned 3 on May 3 this year.
A month of celebration activities was arranged. As well as a daily Manukura ‘fact hunt’ through the reserve there were a number of activities every weekend during that month.
Thanks to the Ten O Clock Cookie Bakery & Cafe in Masterton, there was a huge birthday cake in the kiwi house with a slice for every visitor.
Footnote: I called in to Pukaha Mount Bruce for a sneaky look at Manukura as she slowly walked around her enclosure in the kiwi house. Carefully she inserted her beak deep into the ground searching for worms and other tasty morsels. She is a big girl now and well worth a visit.
PS. The café at Pukaha has undergone a change and is now called Wild Café - new management but same staff –same delicious coffee and food.
Manukura – a kiwi that flies
Wairarapa residents travelling around New Zealand and/or the world are being encouraged to take a Manukura soft toy with them. The idea is to take photos and send them back to the local newspaper. Of course you need to purchase a Manukura soft toy.
New research highlights the importance of New Zealand’s wetlands for one of our most secretive native birds, the Australasian bittern or matuku, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said on World Wetlands Day, 2 February.
GPS tracking of matuku/bittern has, for the first time, revealed that it flies more than 300km between wetlands in the eastern South Island as well as large distances between North Island wetland sites.
Previously it was thought bittern ranged only small distances from their home wetlands.
DU is one of several partners in the Department of Conservation-led research, which shows that bittern rely on a network of wetlands to feed and breed in.
It also means matuku/bittern may be rarer than previously thought as birds have probably been double-counted in local counts in different parts of the country.
In the study, male bittern were tracked flying 330km from Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere in Canterbury to wetlands near Blenheim during the breeding season last spring.
They also flew 117km from Whangamarino wetland in north Waikato to south Kaipara and from Whangamarino to Kaituna in the Bay of Plenty.
DU member Diana Chetwin was surprised to spot a rare visitor from the south and now her sighting has been officially confirmed.
On December 2017 I was helping to launch a boat at Sandy Bay, Te Awaiti, South Wairarapa, when I heard the sound of pied stilts; looking down the beach, I saw two birds take flight. One appeared to be darker than the other.
After launching the boat, I walked along to the next bay to see if the birds had landed there. Sure enough, they were fossicking in the rock pools as it was low tide. One was a black and white stilt and the other was clearly a black stilt (kakī).
I had my little camera and was able to get close enough to get a few pictures, but not so close as to disturb them again. The black stilt was banded, but unfortunately it was standing behind a low rock ledge so the feet and coloured leg bands could not be seen properly.
The sighting was reported to the Department of Conservation and the breeding programme at Twizel in Canterbury. Conversations with people there revealed that the black and white stilt was a hybrid from breeding with a black stilt and the other was clearly a black stilt in the North Island.
My photos only showed the bands on one leg, so they were unable to provide any more information on its breeding, but it was definitely from the South Island.
Climate conditions before the sighting were exceptionally dry for the month but there had been rain the week before. No storms though.
The sighting was reported to the Ornithological Society of New Zealand as an unusual bird recording and officially recorded
Queenstown pair did have one but it died at seven-weeks-old which was a shame. The pair from Auckland had infertile eggs but the female had been flocked mated not long before at Mt Bruce after losing her mate. The pair at Hamilton did nothing as well as the pair at Staglands. The pair at Palmerston North Esplanade did lay three eggs and one being fertile but died in the shell. The pair at Otorohonga did lay a clutch but nothing came from them.
Egmont met a milestone with 100 known birds on the mountain.
6 Captive breed.
Release Egmont March 13, 2014
14 Captive breed
Release Manganui –a-te-ao March 20, 2014
13 Captive breed birds
Released Birds to Date from 2000 to 2014
141 released Egmont National Park
25 released Manganui –a-te-ao
12 released Tongariro area
Deaths for the year 3.1
1 male Auckland Zoo 14 years
1 male Staglands 13 years
1 female Hamilton Zoo 18 years
1 male Otorohanga 3 years