Rangers have been busy out on Whenua Hou checking on last year’s chicks and monitoring and treating cloacitus affected birds. Bad weather has been the theme lately, with a number of flights being delayed and storm surges chewing into the dunes. Not good for the nesting seabirds living in them!
Despite the rainy weather on Whenua Hou over the last month, the rangers were able to get out and check up on how the 2016 kākāpō chicks were doing. Since leaving their mums, the chicks have been finding their own feet and doing a lot of exploring (some have even moved to the completely opposite side of the island to their nests!). The chicks can therefore be in very different places from one day to another, and this can make it quite difficult to find them.
One of the male chicks, Attenborough, was particularly difficult to find on this trip. Attenborough had decided to explore an area of the island covered in dense bush and rocky outcrops that is rarely ever traversed by rangers! After two hours of bush bashing/tripping through thick coastal scrub and steep terrain (and enjoying the spectacular views along the way!), rangers Tim and Freya found Attenborough hunkering down in the middle of a huge carpet of vines. Although this is work is very physically challenging, it is all so worthwhile when the rangers see chicks like Attenborough in fantastic health and thriving in the wild.
We also recently hosted Rob and Reuben from Meridian Energy (a National Partner of the Programme) who came out to have a look at the power system on Whenua Hou. The power system uses both solar and hydro, which is supplemented with a generator during peak times, such as when we need a constant energy source to run incubators. The two did a really thorough job going over the entire system, fixing things and coming up with lots of plans to improve it and make it easier to manage for the team. Rob and Reuben were only supposed to be on the island for a couple of days, but bad weather meant we couldn’t fly them off on the scheduled day and they got to spend a few extra days with the team. They didn’t complain though – not a bad place to be stranded! A big thanks to our “honorary team members” Rob and Reuben for your help and expertise so far – we’re looking forward to working with you to get better set up for the future needs of the Kākāpō Programme.
All in all it’s been a good couple of weeks, with lots of work getting done despite the weather. We sadly said good bye to ranger Freya as this was her last stint with us before she returns to studying.