August 2023 Newsletter
During August there were two volunteer trips to Motuihe involving 48 adult volunteers and 19 Trust leaders. 300 trees were planted.
Fluttering Shearwaters grace Motuihe Island!
Exciting news from Motuihe Island's seabird conservation front: the Fluttering Shearwater (Puffinus gavia) has made its presence known! A monitoring camera recently placed at Billy Goat Point, has captured footage of these elegant birds utilizing nest boxes. Despite a temporary pause in the speaker system's calls, evidence of their activity abounds, including signs of nesting and captivating footage of a pair in action.
With plans to relocate the sound system from Von Luckner's Bush to a promising new site on Billy Goat Point, introduce more nest boxes, and establish a dedicated monitoring protocol, we're hoping to attract and support a thriving population of Fluttering Shearwaters on the island.
Stay tuned for further updates as we nurture the Fluttering Shearwater community on Motuihe Island!
Orange Pore Fungi – Favolaschia calocera
This brightly coloured little mushroom is one you are likely to have seen before. It holds the dubious title of being one of the world’s most widespread fungi. Orange pore fungi is an introduced and invasive species that feeds on decaying wood (the scientific term for this is saprotrophic). It is thought to originate in Madagascar and has been in NZ since at least the 1950s. It was first documented in Europe in 1999 and only reached the Netherlands in 2020. Despite being well established and common in NZ for more than half a century orange pore fungus was first discovered in Australia in 2004. It has been seen in many locations across Motuihe.
We know that orange pore fungus is invasive, but not much is known about what this means on the ground (or in the wood). It is likely that it outcompetes and displaces native species and many of these are possibly still unknown to science. Currently there is no control for orange pore fungi so the best we can do is report locations on iNaturalist to track how its populations are spreading and hope that our native fungi are adapting to this bright, new interloper.
Favolaschia photo by Bella
Over the last summer there were 1,082 bed nights recorded for people camping on Motuihe. Amazing when there wasn't a ferry service.
Plenty of growth down the eastern end of the island
Lois sent me this photo looking towards Bald Knob and Browns Island. The rain has brought on plenty of growth.
Sunday August 13 Dreamweaver trip
39 International students from Auckland University, plus their supervising tutor and 7 trust leaders had a great day out on the island in cloudy but mostly fine weather. The students came from many different countries mostly in north America and Europe. They planted 300 trees including cabbage, koromiko and kowhai. The nursery group bagged up 214 totara plants for next year. John, Lois, Jill S and Ian supervised the planting down the eastern end of the island and Phil and Doris looked after the nursery group. They were a very happy, engaged group which made an easy day for the leaders.
John instructs the group on how to plant a tree.
You can see from these two photos how happy this group was to be out on an island planting trees.
Sunday 27 August water Taxi trip
Two water taxi trips and a private boat took 20 Motuihe leaders and potential leaders out to the island to do a variety of tasks that are difficult to complete when supervising volunteers. Lois, Graeme and Fiona tracked down Kauri trees using GPS, Jackie, Stuart and a new track maintenance volunteer, Murray worked on Tieke track weeds and in the afternoon Lois and Ian joined them with cutting back vegetation and weed eating. Bella and Nate spent the day finding and marking monitoring sites ahead of the bird monitoring that is happening in November. They got through the majority of the 40 sites but still have a few to go. In the Nursery Phil and Chris re-bagged 30 Totara and we now have 250 Totara for next year's planting season. Also 218 Puriri were pricked out. Jill Soufflot took 8 new volunteers on an orientation tour. Most of this group have skills in the conservation area and we hope they will take on some of the special projects we are developing and also help with the monitoring programmes. Julie worked on removing rhamnus, tobacco and moth plant in the Tieke track area, collected previously baited Trakka cards which showed the presence of Pacific gecko and introduced some of the new volunteers to the trail camera grid and seed collection sites in the precious original bush gully that we can Von Luckner's Bush. Thanks to Jill for organizing this trip and bringing out such a passionate group of new volunteers.
Lois and Graeme identify Kauri tree locations with GPS.
Julie spotted this lovely Kereru at the entrance to the Tieke Track
Cyclone Gabrielle damage at one of the gecko monitoring stations (photo Julie)