January 2018


photo Russell Chilton 

Black Billed Gulls

FOR members installed traps around a colony of 42 pairs of the endangered black billed gull. They were nesting in the Howard Valley. The birds left their nest site on 24 December. 


Catch Statistics for December 2017 - Peter Hale 

Village Trapping Dec 2017.JPG
Stoat Trapping Dec 2017.JPG
Possum Trapping Dec 2017.JPG

We are continuing to catch a significant number of possums on the Whisky line, especially in the area containing the rata. This is in contrast to the DOC line which extends from Coldwater Hut to Lakehead Hut via the swing bridge over the Travers River. There is no obvious explanation as possums generally invade from the upper Travers Valley.


Great Spotted Kiwi Project - volunteers required

Kiwi acoustic monitoring

We want to undertake acoustic monitoring of great spotted kiwi within the RNRP this summer for two reasons. Firstly so that we can establish where GSK currently have territories prior to the new translocations occurring so we can decide where the best places to release new kiwi will be. Secondly as part of a long term monitoring programme measuring the call rate of kiwi each year to establish whether the population is increasing or not.

The peak time of year for great spotted kiwi calling is November to March but best practise for acoustic monitoring is between February and June. As a result monitoring will be carried out in March this year. Monitoring also has to coincide with the new moon phase as the effect of the moon phase on kiwi call rates is complex and varies by site and habitat type, the best thing to do is just carry out the monitoring during the darkest time of month and keep it this way each year. As a result GSK acoustic monitoring will be carried out between the 10th and 25th of March 2018.


This is a big piece of work and we need volunteers to help out. There are a range of jobs covering all fitness levels and abilities.


Volunteers to deploy and pull in recorder:

Recorders will be deployed on Saturday 10th of March and then pulled in on Sunday 25th of March.

Fifteen recorders will be deployed in the RNRP, the Rainbow and Travers valleys. Trips to recorder locations vary from 2 to 8 hours, and from medium on track walks to hard off track. If you would like to volunteer to help with recorders please be in touch with which date you can help with, your fitness level (how long can you walk for, on track or comfortable being off track with a GPS) and any medical conditions.


Volunteers to analyse call data:

Currently recorder data cannot be automatically analysed, and we must manually go through recordings to identify kiwi calls. Using a piece of software called Audacity, recordings are viewed as a spectrogram so that we can visually look through them for kiwi calls, when we see something that looks like a kiwi call we listen to it to double check. As there will be a lot of recordings to go through we are after volunteers to help with this. This is an activity that can be done anytime either from the DOC office on our computers or from home on your laptop. Once we have keen volunteers, training sessions will be organised.




Julie Robilliard