At The Sooty Shearwater Colony

This series of little videos shows activity at the sooty shearwater colony for the 2020-21 breeding season. Latest videos are at the top.

From March to early May, the chicks are growing in their burrows, then emerging before leaving. The adults taper off in their feeding visits, and the chicks are not fed at all for the last part of their stay.

2 May: the chicks must be close to departure. One was still present on the 5th when I had to take in the camera for the season. A successful year, the second in a row.
26 April: still a weka about, but this one did not get any sooty chicks this year to our knowledge.
20 April: first emergence, but a wet night and the chick has lost most of its down first time out.
Late March: one of the chicks can be heard calling from inside its burrow.

From mid-January to the end of February, there is still much activity at the colony. It looks like the second good season in a row. Burrowscoping shows a good number of chicks, in good condition. I’m struck by the frequency of visits by the adult birds to the two burrows in frame. Birds were evident on the surface every night, often a pair at the left-hand burrow. They must be feeding locally at the moment:

Not uncommon to see four birds in shot. I think the little skips in the clips are a camera setting which I will try to change.
If only I were allowed do this to the neighbourhood teenagers
Pair bonding in a summer downpour
The weka visited the burrow four times in the six weeks. The chick must be deep enough to be out of reach. One of the very few weka still on the island.
The burrowscoping is not very invasive and worth doing I think. Interestingly this burrow has scanned empty two times out of three despite obviously being active. It is a deep one.

We start in December-January. Both adults will be visiting the burrow, and at this stage they will be incubating one egg, or perhaps will have an early nestling. We can see some pair bonding, activity at both of the burrows visible in shot, territorial disputes, wing exercising, burrow maintenance, gardening, preening. Some of the clips have picked up the birds’ distinctive calls very well.

At The Water Trough

Many readers have asked to see some video from the project. This page shows some clips from one of the water troughs we have scattered about the island. As I find interesting footage, I will add it to the page. New videos will be added immediately below this introductory paragraph. I won’t identify the critters that show up- that’s for you to work out. Our live video experiment is now on the kakariki nest box page.