Funded by Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund
Equipment funded by Craig Butcher
Supported by DOC Wanaka
This project aims to develop a community kea catch trip, survey and nest monitoring program for the Matukituki Valleys, Mt Aspiring National Park (NP). This will be achieved by: i) running an initial catch trip to enable attachment of transmitters and bands to adults and bands to fledglings and juveniles, ii) monitoring kea nest productivity and predator impact through the breeding season and, iii) running a kea survey in January 2017 and combining with all other data to provide a baseline for the local kea population.
An initial catch trip to be run in partnership with Department of Conservation Wanaka was planned for the 16th – 22nd March 2016 (as part of a combined threatened alpine species initiative which also takes into account Rock Wren). The aim was to identify and catch up resident adult females and attach radio transmitters to enable tracking back to nest sites this breeding season.
The trip was initiated in the the East Matukituki Valley with the kea catch team (Robin, Sarah, Reuben, Mark, Donald, Corey, Tamsin and Matt). We were originally planning to piggy back in with the Rock Wren survey group (who had team members also trained in kea) however as we missed this we went in with DOCs predator monitoring team (Corey, Matt, Donald and Reuben) who were being paid by DOC to set out pest tracking tunnels throughout the Matuki. The team was paid by us for the kea survey/catch trip portion of the trip which meant we did not have to cover any transport costs getting to or around the survey location. A number of kea were sighted during the pm/am survey on the 17th – 18th March up the East Matukituki Valley (1 adult female (with a possible fledgling) at point 2 and 5 juveniles at point 3 (refer map below)), however no birds were caught. On the 19th March, the trip was postponed due to heavy rain.
The catch trip has now been rescheduled to restart at the end of January 2017 and will be run in conjunction with the summer survey. Weather at this time should be more settled and breeding pairs with fledglings more easily identified on the hills.