The Lazarus Effect – Protect one species and resurrect a whole forest

Ann Graeme shares her personal stories of native New Zealand birds and insects that have returned after community pest control is carried out for another species. She calls it the “Lazarus effect”. It rained in the night. My pack is heavy with rat bait, and I am following East 5, a bait line marked with pink ribbon, through the forest. Up, down, up the bank. It’s steep and slippery, and I pull myself higher, clutching the tree trunks. There’s the bait station. I open i...
More

Newsletter for our Neighbours

Greetings, neighbors of Aongatete Forest. This is the first of more regular newsletters from us, to keep you informed about our activities. Pest Levels We regularly measure the pest levels in the Forest. Monitoring done in early February shows that OUTSIDE the controlled area, our traps showed a 65% incidence of rats, compared to 8% within our controlled area. In one part of our forest where we have recently deployed 50 or so Good Nature traps, our rat indice is now 0%. Possum levels out...
More

Let’s Count Kereru while we put out our rat baits

The Great Kereru Count coincides with our Baiting Day on 30 Sept. You can all help to get an idea of how many kereru we have at Aongatete by keeping a tally of the number of bird you see and hear along you way. We will collate the total back at the kohanga. Spring is such a wonderful time to see our amazing native birds at Aongatete. If you would like to help control rats and count kereru visit our website www.aongateteforest.org/volunteer-page/  
More

Cheeky robins a measure of forest’s health

The forest at Aongatete is now alive with birds after 12 years of pest control and soon 20 volunteers are going to prove it. A count of North Island robin will take place in the forest on Sunday, 30 July, organized by the Aongatete Forest Project. “Robins are cute, engaging, cheeky birds,” says project chair Barbara McGillivray, “and they’re also a good indicator that the forest is coming alive again. “When I first started volunteering for pest control in 2007 if we heard just one r...
More

June 2017 – Extinction

Extinction is like a full stop. It happens when the very last individual of a species dies. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has just reported that one in three of our native bird species are at risk of extinction. Already in the Kaimai forest birds like kakariki and kokako are locally extinct. But there are many steps along the road to the very last bird. The same report says that that four out of five bird species are ‘in trouble’. They are not gone from our forests, ...
More

November 2016 – Breakfast with the Birds

The overnight event at Aongatete Lodge was billed as ‘Breakfast with the Birds’. It could equally have been described as ‘Spying on the Spiders’ or ‘Walking with the Weta’! The rain had stopped and, fuelled by a sumptuous dinner, the 60 participants went out in the dark to walk in the forest. We were guided by spider expert Bryce McQuillan, an excellent choice as there were spiders everywhere, lurking in sheet webs, tangle webs, orbwebs and tunnels, or just hunting on the forest floor. And it...
More

October 2016 – the birds are back

Spring is here. The shining cuckoos are calling in the forest. They have spent the winter in the Solomon Islands and flown thousands of kilometres to breed here in our summer. The riroriro or grey warblers are singing too. The female cuckoo will follow their song to find a riroriro nest to lay her egg. But all is not lost for riroriro for after they have fostered the cuckoo chick they will nest again and raise their own chicks. Kotare the kingfisher is repeating his harsh squark-squark-s...
More

Birds and breakfast make for a unique event

The dawn chorus of our native birds is world class, and locals will have a chance to hear it next month at a Breakfast With The Birds event at Aongatete Forest. The event is being organized by the Aongatete Forest Trust, and chairwoman Barbara McGillivray says it will be something special. “We have been doing predator control in the forest for 10 years now, and we thought it would be a good opportunity for people to get the chance to hear the result of that work.” " order_by="sortorder"...
More