NEWS


 

Tītipounamu thriving in the sanctuary

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I hear the calls, a high-pitched buzzing ‘zipt, zipt, zipt’. Scanning high in the canopy, I spot a couple darting to and fro with their quick movements. These are the elusive tītipounamu/ rifleman, which I’m excited to spot at last since their introduction in March this year, with the help of ranger Kari Beaven. 

We head up a steep slope on the western scarp of the lower lake, and crouch low to observe a nest. Kari says this is the pair’s second nest for the season – and sure enough, I spot the female coming to feed her chicks several times. A quick food drop, then she’s away out again. 

Spring in the Air

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Spring is truly underway, and many of the birds in ZEALANDIA are exhibiting courtship, breeding and nesting behaviour. Here are some things to look out for if you are visiting the valley. 

The takahē are nesting again this year! In the last week of October rangers found Nio on a nest in the wetland and have set out a camera to keep an eye on whether any pīpī / chicks hatch. With an incubation period of 30 days, and a further nestling period of two weeks, it may be some time before we see any evidence of this, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed! 

Takahē make nests among vegetation, with overhead cover to hide it from avian predators. Males and females take turns incubating eggs, with the female typically taking the day shift and swapping with the male around dusk. 

Ara Kawau – the story of ZEALANDIA’s electric boat

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Ara Kawau, ZEALANDIA’s electric boat, is a familiar sight, plying the waters of the Lower Lake. But did you know that our boat has an interesting back-story as well?

Ara Kawau is a Duffy electric boat, invented when Marshall “Duffy” Duffield placed the motor from a second-hand golf cart into the hull of a beat-up motorboat in Newport Beach, California, more than 45 years ago.

Predator Free Wellington - ZEALANDIA’s halo effect and what you can do to help

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It’s quiet…too quiet.  

When Captain Cook first anchored off New Zealand, the dawn chorus was described as “deafening”. Where did the birds go? Why aren’t there kōkako in Karori? Hihi in Ohariu?  

Terrestrial mammalian predators first arrived in New Zealand with people. Over the years, rats, weasels, stoats, and ferrets have established themselves here, and taken a deadly toll. New Zealand birds are particularly vulnerable as many species nest on the ground or in tree hollows, which are easily attacked. Flightless birds are also at risk, as their evolutionary response to threats is to freeze rather than flee.  

Tītipounamu at home in ZEALANDIA

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Conservation Week is coming up and what better time to check in on the tītipounamu (rifleman) which were introduced to ZEALANDIA ecosanctuary following a translocation from the Wainuiomata Mainland Island in March this year.

Sixty tītipounamu were translocated by ZEALANDIA in partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council. The tītipounamu is Aotearoa’s smallest native bird, weighing in at just 6g.

The new arrivals have recently been detected building nests both in provided nest boxes and in natural nests, Dr Danielle Shanahan, Director of ZEALANDIA’s Centre for People and Nature says.

Lepidoptera at ZEALANDIA

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Around 100 years ago, eminent NZ entomologist George Vernon Hudson worked extensively in the Karori region to create a comprehensive list of moths and butterflies that could be found in the Wellington region.

Now, the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Entomology Society have embarked on a whāinga/mission, in partnership with ZEALANDIA, to develop a current list of moths (Lepidoptera) in the northern end of the valley.

Paths Less Travelled

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It can be easy to stick to what you know, to keep to the well-walked and well-marked routes through ZEALANDIA. How often do you take the paths less travelled? 
There are many lesser-visited spots in the valley, particularly once you start exploring the tracks beyond the Upper Dam. However, you don’t always have to venture far to get off the beaten track. 

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