Short notice I know but I am looking for help to survey wetland birds in the lower Waikato River area more or less between Otaua and Aka aka starting tomorrow on October 20th, 27th and November 3rd. It is to assist Birds NZ South Auckland and the Whakapuoko Landcare Group monitor the impacts of extensive pest control that has recently begun in the area. Although patchy there are very good numbers of bitterns, booming well at present, at least some Spotless Crakes and fernbirds -the aim is to get a handle on just how many. Checking the place out so far I have seen a White Heron, a Brown Teal and heard a Banded Rail as rarities.
Moderate bird knowledge is sufficient as it will be focussed on key species - crakes, fernbird, bittern with 5 minute bird counts to cover other species. Difficulty is either not very with easy walking access along stopbanks or not particularly easy at all on the islands with dense vegetation, uneven footing, vines, soft mud and water up to about knee deep. The worst site for access is really good swamp forest with good birds so there should be reward for pain. Access to count lines is by driving, on foot or by small boat.
We do two kinds of counts.
1. Morning counts. Meet at Hood's Landing at 8.00 am and head out to count lines with 6 count sites each with a 5 minute bird count and playback for Spotless Crake and Fernbird. Counting to finish at midday.
2. Evening counts. Meet at Hood's Landing at 6.00 pm and head out to sites by vehicle and foot or by small boat to do a stationary count focussing on booming bitterns and arriving back about 9.00 pm.
Hood's Landing is at the end of Hood's Landing Rd south of Otaua which is south of Waiuku.
If you are interested in either or both of these jobs please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and a gear list.
Upcoming birding events. Announce your counts, field trips, working bees, cost-share birding trips etc.
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