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.
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!
Farmers and gardeners have been spraying their crops and flowers for years to protect them from pests.
We’re told that it has to be this way. Don’t believe it!
These pesticides harm and kill. Pollinating insects – gone. The small birds that feed on these insects – weakened, infertile. The larger birds that hunt the smaller birds (like karearea, our falcon) – birth eggs with shells so brittle, they break.
There are other ways to control our garden pests. For instance, Mrs Thrush. She eats slugs and snails. For free!
In Flight of Pollen, bees and hoverflies are important pollinators
The Krefeld Entomological Society (est. 1905) has discovered huge declines in several observation sites throughout Western Europe.
In Australia, Jack Hasenpusch, an entomologist and owner of the Australian Insect Farm which collects swarms of wild insects, says: “. . . it’s left me dumbfounded, I can’t figure out what’s going on.”
Here in NZ, we’re still visited by moths at night, still finding bugs squashed on our car windscreens, still able to lie in an apple orchard and watch the hoverflies working, still able to visit a community garden in summer to watch oodles of native bees. . .
. . .and can even find a wild honeybee nest down where the free range chooks roam (which I did last week)
from students at the Flight of Pollen / Enviroschools / Te Aho Tu Roa event at Nga Manu Nature Reserve this month:
On Tuesday 13 March, students from five Kapiti Coast schools came together for a teacher and senior student workshop.
In the morning Flight of Pollen was played in the Education Centre. This was very appropriate since both the Centre and the game have received generous support from the Philipp Family Foundation.
Then the afternoon was spent touring the grounds. Nga Manu Reserve provided an ideal setting in which to explore the concepts of pollination of our native flora and fauna. And guide Rhys (pictured) carefully grounded the game play elements (plants, pollinators, weather elements).
“Brilliant” said parents and students. “We noticed things around us that the game had in it – like pollinators.” “We identified plants.” “We learnt new things.”
Having shown they can now play the game, it has gone back to their schools, with the responsibility to teach the game to the students there. . .
“We will introduce and pollinate our school with the game,” said Kapanui students Leo, Zane and Jasmin.
Did they develop understanding of this topical local and global issue? Yes, definitely.
“We will now be more aware of what pollinators do for us.“