Tough times for birds

Wairoa Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger talks plants and birds

Wairoa Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger talks plants and birds

NOT AN EASY ENVIRONMENT: Whakamahi is proving a tough environment for native birds and plants to re-establish themselves — even with support.

WHILE there may be signs of fernbird numbers increasing at Whakamahi,Wairoa, the bittern’s status is now critically endangered.

Wairoa Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Helen Jonas said that during her last few visits to Whakamahi she had heard fernbird calling.

“Which is great, though I couldn’t say it’s due to our planting, but some of the plantings — the salt marsh ribbonwoods — are aimed to provide more habitat for those birds. Another 100 were planted this winter just gone.”

Ms Jonas is planning to plant again next autumn.

“Rotary usually help put in 200 trees, and then I try to put in at least another 200 at the other end of the wetland. EIT has also helped in the past but they weren’t available this year, so I used periodic detention workers to help me plant around 500 plants along the fence area.”

Ongoing wetland restoration work is also happening at Ngamotu Lagoon at Kihitu.

This year, 200 trees were planted to create habitat and to protect fences, so in times of floods the driftwood gets stopped by the trees before it can bust down the fence and allow stock in.

“I haven’t done surveys in this area for a very long time but there were plenty of pied stilts in there while I was planting,” Ms Jonas said.

She did not see any godwits at that time.

“Unfortunately, this year I was not able to put any time into bittern surveys. At this stage, I am not aware of any bittern utilising Whakamahi, and in the past I believe that the wetland was used for feeding rather than breeding.

“That was when there was far more disturbance from people and dogs, and bikes. Now that the site is fenced, there is less disturbance, and it is hoped that they will return to breed, but presently I don’t think its happening,” Ms Jonas said.

“The Bittern status has now become critically endangered — so that’s pretty much at the top of the endangered list — which isn’t great. So the more we can do for these birds, it will all help.”

WHILE there may be signs of fernbird numbers increasing at Whakamahi,Wairoa, the bittern’s status is now critically endangered.

Wairoa Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Helen Jonas said that during her last few visits to Whakamahi she had heard fernbird calling.

“Which is great, though I couldn’t say it’s due to our planting, but some of the plantings — the salt marsh ribbonwoods — are aimed to provide more habitat for those birds. Another 100 were planted this winter just gone.”

Ms Jonas is planning to plant again next autumn.

“Rotary usually help put in 200 trees, and then I try to put in at least another 200 at the other end of the wetland. EIT has also helped in the past but they weren’t available this year, so I used periodic detention workers to help me plant around 500 plants along the fence area.”

Ongoing wetland restoration work is also happening at Ngamotu Lagoon at Kihitu.

This year, 200 trees were planted to create habitat and to protect fences, so in times of floods the driftwood gets stopped by the trees before it can bust down the fence and allow stock in.

“I haven’t done surveys in this area for a very long time but there were plenty of pied stilts in there while I was planting,” Ms Jonas said.

She did not see any godwits at that time.

“Unfortunately, this year I was not able to put any time into bittern surveys. At this stage, I am not aware of any bittern utilising Whakamahi, and in the past I believe that the wetland was used for feeding rather than breeding.

“That was when there was far more disturbance from people and dogs, and bikes. Now that the site is fenced, there is less disturbance, and it is hoped that they will return to breed, but presently I don’t think its happening,” Ms Jonas said.

“The Bittern status has now become critically endangered — so that’s pretty much at the top of the endangered list — which isn’t great. So the more we can do for these birds, it will all help.”

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