Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Monday, 9 June 2014

Saddleback transfer - Bushy Park to Rotokare Scenic Reserve

Annette, a long time and very active member of our group helped with a recent transfer of 40 Saddleback (Tieke) from Bushy Park Sanctuary to Rotokare Scenic Reserve.
Annette has filed this report.
Bushy Park Sanctuary is 100 hectares of fenced, predator free, original lowland rainforest about 25km west of Whanganui.
Complementing the magnificent rainforest (which contains Ratanui, known as the largest living N I rata) are healthy populations of a variety of native birds. Saddlebacks and robins are particularly conspicuous, which is exciting since both populations have grown from relatively recent translocations.
The first day of catching started with a heavy frost and was very cold. Saddleback are usually caught in mist nets and attracted using playback of recorded calls.
Saddleback in mist net, photo taken on Kapiti Is during a previous transfer
That morning most of them were more interested in feeding than in responding to unusual disturbances, so we caught just 15 between 9am and 2pm. However after that things livened up and 20 more were caught in about half an hour.
Kevin P processing a bird while others wait in line on a line.
5 more were easily caught the next morning, and we had our quota in record time, with a few juveniles and an even mix of sexes.
A juvenile bird complete with bling.

The birds were kept in an aviary where they soon keyed into their new diet and feasted on thousands of mealworms and pecked at juicy oranges. Many other fruits and food were available but these were their favourites. Four days later most of them had gained weight and they were caught and put in transfer boxes and driven to Rotokare.

Rotokare Scenic Reserve is a 230 hectare forested hill-country catchment with extensive wetlands and a 17.8 hectare natural lake.A Trust was formed in 2004 and in an ambitious community-owned and community-driven project the reserve was surrounded by a pest proof fence and the pests within eradicated. Now they are starting to reintroduce missing species. Both Whitehead and Saddleback have now been introduced this year.
It is a free access, open Sanctuary and boating is allowed.


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