Archives For kaka

New Zealand’s birds aren’t known for being particularly savvy when it comes to defending themselves from introduced predators.

Continue Reading...

Punanga Manu o Te Anau/Te Anau Bird Sanctuary has celebrated another generation of kākā winging their way to new homes in the wild.

Continue Reading...

DOC’s Julie Kidd shares news of recent conservation successes around the islands of the Hauraki Gulf.

Continue Reading...

By Daniel Deans, DOC Intern

Recently the summer interns at DOC had the opportunity to ditch the spreadsheets, stretch their legs and get out of the office for a two day excursion on Kapiti Island.

DOC Interns on the beach at Kapiti Island.

DOC Interns on Kapiti Island

Every summer, DOC takes on a small group of interns to work in various roles. This year saw the largest contingent of interns that DOC has ever dared to take on at once, with a group of 11 wannabes working for three months in DOC’s National Office.

Interns working with a DOC ranger on Kapiti Island.

Hard at work

Having had enough of us after two months, our managers sent us across the sea on an unseasonably stormy day to spend two days volunteering on Kapiti Island. Home to one of New Zealand’s treasured native bird sanctuaries, we were to spend two days working with local ranger Gen on various island maintenance tasks – getting the hands on work we’d been craving after weeks behind a keyboard.

A weta on Kapiti Island.

Weta

The first day involved an invigorating walk to the summit of the island (a surprisingly high 521 metres), where we were greeted with a stunning sight of fog and rain, as well as the occasional weka attempting to steal our lunches.

The journey back down the hill was no less invigorating, having been tasked the glamorous job of clearing drains.

With mechanised street sweepers unsuited to a steep gravel track, clearing the drains involved shovelling dirt and leaves with your boot heel, and bending down to scoop it all up with your hands.

Needless to say the group arrived back to the accommodation rather damp, muddy and exhausted, but entirely satisfied with some good physically demanding labour (who needs a gym when you can do squats clearing drains?). While some retreated to the hot showers, the more adventurous among us thought that the howling wind and rain was the perfect weather for a swim. The sanity of these individuals is now missing somewhere off the coast of Paraparaumu.

An intern on Kapiti Island.

Enjoying nature

During the evening (after several increasingly ridiculous games of Articulate), we were treated to a kiwi spotting tour with Gen the Ranger. While ‘spotting’ is perhaps a bit of an optimistic term in retrospect, we did hear the calls of several kiwi in close vicinity, as well as stumbling on giant weta and other wildlife.

A gecko species on Kapiti Island.

Geckos

The dawn of day two saw Juliet and team leader Shannan up at a ridiculous hour – running to the top of the island to catch the dawn chorus. The rest of us dragged ourselves out of bed to have breakfast with the cheeky kaka, who were entirely unfazed by the human invaders to their home.

With the sight of the well needed sun, we set out on the morning mission – weeding the tracks. As it turns out, Kapiti Island is quite the ideal working location, with the crew being treated to the melodic sounds of the native bird population as we laboured. Along the way the ever-knowledgeable Ranger Gen pointed out each bird’s specific call, and succeeded in selling the job of Kapiti Island ranger as a very tempting career move.

An intern visited by a kaka on Kapiti Island.

Curious kaka

But unfortunately the trip had to end. With soggy socks and heavy hearts we boarded our boat back to the mainland, having had a fantastic taster into life ‘on the ground’ as part of DOC – an invaluable experience for all of us!

Today’s photo of the week is of a kākā popping in to a summer party on a balcony in Wellington City.

The population of kākā in the capital is increasing thanks to the work of conservationists and Wellington wildlife sanctuary Zealandia.

Kaka in Wellington City on a balcony.

The success of restoring native birds to cities is bringing those birds into increasing conflict with humans according to Victoria University’s recent research.

Kākā, pukeko and red-billed gulls were found to be the species most likely to encounter problems in cities. The research has helped to identify these species and will mean emerging problems can be monitored and addressed.

This photo was taken by Phillip Capper.

Olivia is 9 years old and lives in the Fiordland area. She writes about her recent trip to the Lake Howden Hut on the Routeburn Track.

Olivia and her brother on the Routeburn track.

Enjoying all the Routeburn has to offer

I liked going to stay at Lake Howden Hut. On the walk up the hill there were lots of water falls and big rocks. We had a drink of the water, saw a kaka bird and had a close look at the ferns. Some big trees were over the track that we had to go under like a tunnel.

At the hut there was a lot to do. We played in the lake and made a dam so we could have a pool, but the water was too cold. We found big rocks to climb and a stage to do our gymnastics and ballet on.

Liam standing on a rocky hill on the Routeburn Track.

Liam on top of the world

We had pasta for dinner, then milo and chocolate biscuits for supper. We played cards before going to bed.  We all wanted the top bunks but there were plenty of them so there were no fights. We played with our torches and in our sleeping bags, it was fun with everyone there.

Howden Hut on the Routeburn Track.

Our Howden Hut home

The next day we walked to Key Summit, it was amazing. It is a beautiful place, even the climb up was ok! But my legs did get a bit sore.

Olivia reading an information post along the Routeburn Track.

Learning about the alpine environment.

There was information on the different plants. Liam, my brother, was our tour guide and led the way around the track. We went across bogs, around tarns and up to the top.

On the way home it was all downhill. We talked about the next track we wanted to do, maybe the Kepler or Hollyford Track?

The girls on the Routeburn Track.

What track will we conquer next?

It probably doesn’t surprise you to hear that people love visiting our native animals online at www.doc.govt.nz. What may surprise you are the native animals people like visiting the most.

#10 Kaka

This amusing, social and boisterous parrot seems to be as much fun to hang out with online as in the real world.

Kaka

#9 Frogs

New Zealand’s four species of native frog may be cold-blooded, but they’re warmly regarded, and well visited, on the DOC website.

Hamilton's frog

#8 Tui

It’s not too much of a stretch to see why this pretty and popular song bird made the list. 

Tui feeding

#7 Kakapo

This eccentric New Zealand parrot has a huge following, partly due to their high profile ambassador Sirocco, who regularly makes news headlines around the world.

Kakapo chicks

#6 Tuatara

The only survivor of an ancient group of reptiles that roamed the earth at the same time as dinosaurs, tuatara are internationally famous and endlessly fascinating.

Tuatara

#5 Bats

Maori refer to bats as pekapeka and associate them with the mythical, night-flying bird, hokioi, which foretells death or disaster. Despite this rather gloomy association we still love visiting them.

Short-tailed bat cluster

#4 Kiwi

The kiwi is New Zealand’s national icon and unofficial national emblem. The only surprise about kiwi would’ve been if it didn’t make our top 10.

Kiwi

#3 Weta

Beating many a fair and feathered creature, New Zealand’s most recognisable creepy-crawly takes third place.

Giant weta

#2 Eel

These slimy and snake-like creatures obviously have more love out there than we give them credit for.   

Longfin eel

#1 Gecko

One look at the photos on the gecko pages and you’ll understand why these gorgeous creatures made it to the number one spot.

Marlborough green gecko

So, that’s the top 10 native animals of 2011, based on the number of visits each of them received on the DOC website during the year. Do you think visitor numbers have given us an accurate picture of popularity? Did your favourite make the list? Let’s take a quick poll to find out…