January 2013- Mike Ogle reports in from our 2006 project to assist with translocating weka to Totaranui: “The weka numbers there have very quietly been increasing and spreading to surrounding catchments…And their future is looking bright with more stoat trapping planned through Project Janszoon and Abel Tasman Bird Song Trust. Quite a delight to holiday there with the family and have weka to feed.”
Peter adds that weka are getting more common in Nelson City even- he has no obvious explanation but we’ll take good news even if we can’t understand it fully.
December 2012- Our surveillance camera has picked up activity at the hoped-for seabird colony only a month after the first speaker system went in. The above was sent to a cellphone back in Wellington showing a sooty shearwater landing?/exercising? at 1 AM on 3 December. The speaker is at top right.
These seabird-attracting systems are fast becoming standard practice and they are helping, unsupervised, to found colonies of burrow-nesting seabirds- the keystone species of any self-respecting seabird island- in many locations. Fauna Recovery NZ is now up to its 6th system, including one on Wakaterepapanui, next island up from Puangiangi. Sooties were certainly on Puangiangi late (1980s/1990s) into Ross Webber’s tenure and it’s reasonable to assume that they lasted longer than the smaller shearwaters, petrels and prions in the face of rat predation. Peter and I had a good look in May 2012 for any activity at the old burrow sites, and everything looked long-abandoned, with no tell-tale cleared areas around the burrows, or seabird smell. On that basis our conjecture is that the speakers might well have been responsible for these sooties coming in for a look around.