Kiwi doing well in the Brynderwyns

A survey of kiwi presence in the Piroa Brynderwyn Hills found that North Island Brown Kiwi are now well spread out from their original release site at Marunui near Mangawhai. This is exciting news for everyone involved in trapping, predator control and conservation efforts in this area.

Using acoustic listening devices at over 170 listening sites and analysing over 5,000 hours of recorded sound files, it is exciting to see that Kiwi were detected from the easternmost point of the ranges near the sea at Bream Tail Farm to the Cattlemount trig area in the west. The northernmost calls were heard in the hills to the south of Lang’s Beach and the southernmost calls came from up Brooklands Way, in the hills above the lakes off Baldrock Road. The positive sites are shown in the map below.

Prior to 2013 Kiwi were extinct in the Brynderwyns, the last kiwi being heard sometime in the 1960s. Then through the marathon efforts of over 20 years of predator trapping, the Department of Conservation agreed to the release of 43 kiwi at Marunui. This private shareholder landholding has been at the heart of kiwi conservation efforts at the southern frontier to Northland.

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Carrying out this survey has been rewarding for everyone getting behind the High Value area known now as Piroa Conservation Trust. Getting a handle on how kiwi are doing after their release is often anecdotal rather than evidence based.
While the trapping and pest plant work continues at pace, the mahi is not done. There is much more to do.

The kiwi survey was one of the highlights reported to Northland Regional Council in the trust’s annual report. It gives confidence that kiwi are surviving and spreading out in the hills, in spite of a couple of year’s of summer droughts, severe weather, and the kiwi habitat being popular for recreational hunting and close to dog walking.

Ensuring that the existing population of Northland brown kiwi keeps growing is an important part of the Piroa Conservation Trust’s (PCT) work. Our vision for the future is of a thriving kiwi population, where kiwi can roam safely throughout the Piroa Brynderwyn ranges and are cared for by the local people.

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The survey’s specific outcome was to produce an overview and map of kiwi presence/non-detection across the landscape covered by the PCT. Information gained is critical for our pest control efforts along with providing an opportunity for kiwi advocacy with landowners and the wider public.

We are delighted to be sharing our recent kiwi survey so the community has a better understanding of the special place we share and the kiwi population we protect.

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Safer Kiwi 

The Kiwi in our community one step safer with the installation of a new trapline following the pasture/bush edge along Baldrock Road, then Brown Road, and up into the main Piroa/Brynderwyn range.
The trapline is a mixture of DOC 200 and DOC 250 traps (as shown in the photo) and are aimed at killing the Mustelid family (Weasels / Stoats / Ferrets). These three introduced predators are kiwi killing machines, with the Ferrets being able to take out an adult kiwi (which is why we have a $100 reward for anyone who catches a Ferret, dead or alive).
The Kiwi breeding season is underway, which makes the reduction of the numbers of these Mustelids is vital in helping or kiwi breed and kiwi chick survival.
Thank you so much to the many landowners whose land this trapline crosses. Together we make a difference!

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Monitoring Our Native Birds

On November 13th 2022 a group of keen conservationists gathered to learn from Dr Dai Morgan from NRC about monitoring native bird species and density in the ranges. The work is important as over time this will provide evidence around the impact our groups’ pest control programmes are having, and what new species are returning to the area.

Over the past couple of years, the group has noticed more species comfortably residing in the areas where rats, possums and mustelid are controlled.

3 years ago, Bream Tail Farm saw breeding kiwi return and more recently bellbird and kaka - all three species- are now recorded regularly on the property. Over the road at Waorahi Conservation Estate bellbirds have returned and other native species are growing in numbers, but the Marunui Conservation estate continues to be the hub for kiwi conservation in the area along with other species such tomtit, bellbird, grey warbler, ruru, kererū, pīwakawaka, fernbird, and shining cuckoo.  

With other landowners joining the journey, and the 3 large DOC reserves in the ranges now part of the pest control programme, the group expects to see broader spread of native birds - given there is increased safe habitat to reside.
The team of 20 local volunteers will now monitor key bush sites to track and record a collection of key native species. Some of the volunteers will also be working with the local schools to train the students to assist and be involved as part of their conservation curriculum.  

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Welcoming the shorebirds home

October 19th the Mangawhai Beach School officially (?) welcomed our long-haul migratory native birds back to our Mangawhai shores. They come here from Alaska and Russia to feed over our summer. They then head back, with a stop in Asia, to breed. The record flight here is 8 days!
Thanks Susan Steedman (Piroa Conservation Trust) for the idea and the organising you did for this.

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