DU director and bittern expert Emma Williams’ workload has become a whole lot busier after she was appointed science advisor (wetland birds) for the Department of Conservation in October.
A fulltime job for four years, her main task is to deliver the national bittern research plan. The role also involves work with other wetland birds such as spotless crakes and marsh crakes with the aim of setting up new collaborations with organisations to try to fill some of the knowledge gaps about cryptic and native wetland birds.
Projects include working with Stephen Hartley and students at Victoria University in Wairarapa Moana. One of the current projects involves putting out artificial bittern nests in several study sites, including Wairio, to determine what predators are targeting bitterns.
Emma says new bittern monitoring projects in South Kaipara, Auckland region, Tauranga and Turangi are expanding DOC’s national monitoring reach. The goal is to identify where bittern strongholds and hot spots are and inform where new projects are needed to try to reverse bittern declines.
Restoration Day at Wario May 21, proved to be a success with helpers like Ross Cottle, Ian Gunn, and Tapuwa Marapara, who were able to share their expertise with those who attended.
Adding to the success was the wide diversity of people present, both as presenters and as participants. There were 30 on the bus all up and the combination of talks on the bus and pauses during the field trips gave plenty of time for the story to unfold and for people to ask questions.
The weather played its part too!
It’s all science: Two PhD students, Eve Sutter (wearing hat) and Elisa Piispa, from Victoria University School of Chemistry and Physical Sciences, using an array of electrodes to measure below-ground resistivity at various depths. The technique can be used to estimate the profile of the water table along a transect without the need to dig multiple bore holes.
(Stephen was the organiser).