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the kākāpō breeding season

this summer is expected to be the biggest we’ve ever known.

That’s because we’re having the biggest rimu mast that’s ever been recorded.

Rimu mast (seed fruiting in large amounts) is the trigger for the female kākāpō on Codfish Island/Whenua Hou (about three kilometres north-west of Stewart Island/Rakiura), and on Anchor Island/Puke Nui (in Fiordland’s Dusky Sound) to come, answer the boys booming. Finally joining them to dance in their sounding bowls!

These Islands are home to New Zealand’s main populations of kākāpō. The third Island is Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island, in the Hauraki Gulf.

There are 148 kākāpō and the population is slowly increasing. But the likeable parrots face lots of problems. The biggest is infertility.

Kākāpō and takahē expert Andrew Digby, a DOC scientist says that, “Only about half of the eggs hatch, and only about a third of the eggs that are laid turn into chicks that fledge.”

Last year, for example, there were 122 eggs laid but only 34 chicks fledged.

That makes mast years like next year of huge importance. Digby says, “It’s going to be a big one for us.”

One that will bring out the girls!

Thanks to the undaunting efforts of the Department of Conservation, in Cloak of Protection, Kākāpō remain in the FOREST realm, and have not joined the EXTINCT realm.

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First takahē eggs for Kahurangi

Takahe eggs
Image: DOC
The pitter patter of little takahē feet is on the cards at Kahurangi National Park. DOC reports that the first eggs of the new wild population have been found at Gouland Downs off the Heaphy Track, only the second wild site for takahē.

Today it is exactly 70 years since takahē were rediscovered in the Murchison mountains of Fiordland.

As a student, one of my holiday jobs was working at the Murrell Accomodation in Manapouri. Old man Murrell told me that he had been one of the group that lead Orbell up into the mountains on that day.

He also laughed and claimed that they knew of the existence of the birds long before this. I wonder?

Never-the-less, we mark today as the 70th year of their rediscovery.

Takahē in Cloak of Protection belong in Tane’s Forest Realm. The work of The Takahē Recovery Programme means that they did not join Hine Nui Te Po in the realm of the extinct.

Seventy years on they remain with us, and are now laying eggs in the wild in two locations.

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NZ’s sneeziest plants

Karamu male hangs so that the wind can pick up his pollen
are the ones let loose huge amounts of male pollen. The female positions herself downwind and catches his pollen grains from the air!

It’s a very ancient way. And in this windy country, with strong westerly winds, it works!
Our sneeziest plants are the introduced: gorse, macrocarpa, plantain, pine trees, olive, meadow foxtail grass, and privet.

In Flight of Pollen the native tree miro, and the native bush karamu, let fly huge amounts of pollen too …

It’s a long season of sniffles and sneezes for us!? A-tish-ho! A-tish-ho!

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Counter Culture, next event

because it’s a great place to play games! And because it’s the beginning of the school holidays. . .
Sunday 30 September 1-4pm
$5 entry (food and drink available for purchase)
We’re playing Flight of Pollen with KCC (Kiwi Conservation Club) 10 years++. But there’s plenty of games there for all ages!!
Please RSVP to me on the contact form, so we have an idea of numbers. All welcome. Come, seed our forest anew!
Counter Culture Board Game Cafe
211 Victoria Street, Te Aro, Wellington

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World-leading eradication on Antipodes Island

Image: WWF-New Zealand and Island Conservation

Million Dollar Mouse was one of the most complex island eradication projects ever undertaken, and now we know it was successful.

Recent monitoring on Antipodes Island has confirmed that native birds and insects can thrive, free from predation and competition from mice and other mammals.

A successful Cloak of Protection is now made – by a team that included DOC, the Morgan Foundation, WWF-New Zealand, Island Conservation and us, the New Zealand public.