Early Christmas present for Motuora!

On checking the gannet site this morning we were delighted to discover that one of the two eggs at the site had hatched and a gannet chick was safely tucked under one of its parents.

Newly hatched gannet chick on Motuora

We were also lucky enough to witness the parent gannet feeding the chick and at this stage the chick appears to be doing well. The enthusiastic parent was vigorously encouraging the chick to feed but was probably a little over enthusiastic in regurgitating a piece of squid about the same size as the chick! A small video clip of the parent gannet feeding the chick can be seen at http://youtu.be/jTpMFz8SC_U .

We will keep you posted on the development of this first chick and any news on the hopeful arrival of Motuora’s second gannet chick soon!

Sian and Toby



Gannets nest on Motuora!

In July 2010 a “fake colony” of gannet decoys backed up by an acoustic system playing gannet calls was installed at the northern end of Motuora Island. Real gannets have been attracted to the site since this time, but up until this year they had failed to nest at the site.

A pair of gannets displaying courtship behaviour

Since September this year a group of around nine gannets have been at the site continuously and signs of nesting were looking promising. With the observation of a pair of gannets mating at the site last month hopes for successful nesting were high. In the last couple of days we have been able to confirm that there are indeed two birds incubating eggs at the site! This is very exciting news for the project and bodes well for the establishment of a permanent gannet colony on Motuora.

Gannet on egg

Gannet on egg

More Wetapunga for Motuora

A further 35 half grown wetapunga were released on Motuora Island on Sunday 2nd December. Wetapunga were first released on Motuora in September 2010, this second translocation will help boost the population.

Wetapunga are New Zealand’s largest insect and are now only naturally found on Little Barrier Island. The wetapunga released on Motuora Island were bred in captivity at Butterfly Creek.

A small group of MRS committee members along with Chris Green from DOC and Paul Barrett from Butterfly Creek all braved the windy conditions to attend the release. The wetapunga were released into individual artificial refuges made of bamboo. It was great to get an up close view of these rare and secretive insects.

This second transfer along with planned future transfers are important to improve genetic diversity and eventually build a self sustaining population of wetapunga on Motuora Island.

A big thanks to Paul for raising the wetapunga and assisting with the release and also to Chris for organising the translocation.