Anecdotally we are told by people that there are more ruru (morepork) in areas where we have been carrying out good rat and possum control. This is especially interesting where we are using bait stations for control, as brodifacoum (the active ingredient in Pest Off bait ) has a long half life, so there is a concern that it could build up in the environment and threaten native birds like ruru.

However, our recommended programme of pest control only requires small amounts of bait around 5 times a year once pest numbers are low, and we also minimise bait access by non target species. If (as we are being told) Ruru appear to be thriving in our control areas, it suggests that the presence of predators is more dangerous to them than bait stations. We’d like to support that by doing some citizen science, so this spring in 2020 we are organising four baseline surveys to count the numbers of ruru in four different areas. We’ll repeat these surveys every year to see how our ongoing predator control affects the numbers of ruru in each place.

Start time for all surveys is 8.00pm. The locations and dates are:

  • Patumahoe Monday, October 26th. Meet at Clive Howe Rd sports car park by school. We will complete a circuit of Clive Howe area, Te Ara Owhangamaire and Henry’s Bush.
  • Pukekohe Hill Summit Wednesday October 28th. Meet below the car park area and locked gates. We will complete a short 1.5km circuit in the Reserve area to the south of the summit.
  • Mauku Monday Nov 2nd. Meet at St Brides Church on Findlay Rd. We will complete a 4km road circuit, mostly on the road with a couple of off road expeditions.
  • Pukekohe Rooseville Park Wednesday Nov 4th. Meet at the top of Ngahere Rd. We will complete a 1.5km circuit around the Reserve.

And bats as well!
We have records of long-tailed bats at all of these sites apart from Rooseville Park. Those records are from audio recorder devices that were left out all night to record bat passes. However, we have some hand-held bat detectors, so on these walks we’ll bring them along and have a crack at picking up some bats. It will be very exciting to find some.

So come join us for an evening walk and learn about bats and ruru. We’re walking over rough ground in the dark, so bring suitable footwear and a torch or small headlight. If it’s raining phone Andrew Sinclair 021 268 1904 to check if it’s postponed.

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