Miro - News

By: Miro  05-Apr-2012
Keywords: Events, Birds, Possum Traps

We missed seeing any robins during our big search on 24 October, but less a week later they were sighted in the park!!! Three birds - two banded and one unbanded were seen in an area that was thoroughly searched by our monitoring teams. This confirms our suspicions that we conducted our park-wide search on a 'bad day for robins', whatever that might be.

We will need to perform a repeat large-scale search at some time but it won't be this year as we don't want to overly stress the birds while they are nesting.

We will keep people informed of any developments with the robins via MIRO newsletters and news reports on our website.

Thanks very much for giving up your time to help MIRO search the East Harbour Forest Block for robins on Saturday, 24 September 2011. The number of people involved meant we had comprehensive coverage of the likely robin habitats south of Mt Lowry. We really appreciate the work you put in.

Thats the good news.

The bad news is that not one of us saw a robin. This was somewhat surprising, given the thoroughness of the search and the fact that we have been having regular, credible sightings until very recently.

There are at least two possible explanations:

  • The most likely, is that the conditions on the day were simply not suitable for the robins to react to us. Robins can be cryptic and this has happened to us before with known birds in the park, where on some days they readily make an appearance and on others they don't appear, for reasons we don't understand.
  • A more pessimistic explanation is that the recent three days of snow and hail was too much for them and that the birds have died. While this is possible, we also know that North Island Robins can handle snow in other parts of the country (although the birds released from Kapiti would not be used to such cold weather). However, some areas of the park are more sheltered than others and its a bit of a stretch, though not impossible, that the entire population was wiped out.

As it is likely that there are still robins in the park, despite the results of the search, we will continue to look for them on a less structured basis. We invite anyone who is in the park over the coming months to be on the lookout and to use the techniques from last Saturday to call them in. If you make a sighting, please let me know about it, preferably with banding details if present.

So thanks again for your efforts. If we get credible sightings in the future we will let you know about them.

The translocation of North Island Robins took place over the weekend 2-3 April 2011. Even the weather chipped in and provided us with ideal conditions for the capture on Kapiti Island and release in Butterfly Creek.

Each bird was given a thorough health check and banded before being placed in indiviudual boxes. The birds were transfered by helicopter to Eastbourne the next day, and carried carefully into the release area by a large group of volunteer carriers.

We captured 40 birds and ALL of them were released safely in Butterfly Creek. MIRO and all the people who helped out during the planning, capture, transfer and release can be justifiably proud of that result.

Casual visitors to Buterefly Creek have reported seeing and hearing birds in the release area. This is a great sign for the lead-in to the next step - the very important monitoring stage where we need to regularly check for and report on sightings.

We are now settiing up a Robin Monitoring Team who will carry out regular, scheduled visits to check on the birds. We also need casual visitors to support the core montitoring team by looking out for Robins when they visit the East Harbour Regional Park (EHRP) and report any sightings to MIRO.

If you would like to join the Robin Monitoring Team or are simply report your sightings whenever you visit, and provide us with your name(s), and contact numbers.

The annual MIRO BBQ was held on Saturday February 26th at the usual venue of the Days Bay Playcentre. The weather was kind to us and nearly 50 members and associates took the opportunity to socialise, catch-up with what others have been doing, and celebrate all the good work that has been put in over the past year. Greater Wellington Regional Council provided and cooked the food. We anticipate that next summer's BBQ will return to the usual date of around the end of November or beginning of December.
On Sunday February 20th the annual MIRO-sponsored Giant Rata Journey was held. Supported by the Greater Wellingon Regional Council, a group of MIRO volunteers led interested members of the public on a walk to see the giant rata in the heart of the East Harbour Regional Park behind Eastbourne . The five hour walk from Days Bay was fully subscribed and the public were provided with interpretation by the MIRO volunteers throughout the day. Despite a challenging off-track descent from Middle Ridge to the MacKenzie Track, feedback to date has been positive and we certainly intend to repeat the walk next summer.

A recent development has seen MIRO volunteers extending their trapping activities along the Pencarrow Coastline. From February 2011, six MIRO volunteers will be monitoring the 28 Mustelid traps between Burdans Gate and the Pencarrow lighthouse. 

On Sunday 30 January 2011, Wellington Regional Council Bio Security Officer, Gary Sue conducted an induction course on the safe handling of the traps.  These traps will be monitored on a monthly basis by  a rotating roster of MIRO volunteers.  Long term MIRO volunteer Phil Benge commented that the training was very worthwhile and remarked that it is “high noon” for stoats along the Pencarrow Coast.

Fifty people turned up to celebrate the official opening of the MIRO Nursery at its new site at the GNS National Isotope Centre on Friday 5 March. Officials attending included, Dr Alex Malahoff Chief Executive GNS, Greater Wellington Regional Councillors Fran Wilde and Prue Lamason, Mayor Ogden from Hutt City, Liz Mellish and Mark Te One from the Wellington Tenths Trust. Rob Stone, Department of Conservation, Stan Butcher and Steve Gentry from Lower Hutt Forest and Bird and a number of Greater Wellington staff also attended along with MIRO volunteers.

Officials at potting table
(Photo by Margaret Low GNS Science)

Mayor David Ogden speaking to the

Guests milling around

Plants in the Nursery

In 2009 GNS generously offered MIRO the use of the land at the National Isotope Centre for the MIRO Nursery which is propagating trees for the restoration of the Parangarahu Lakes Block in East Harbour Regional Park. The site is ideal, offering security, a sunny aspect, lots of space and a central location for volunteers. MIRO moved on to the site in late December and work parties started in earnest in January.

The opening was a chance to thank GNS for supporting this important restoration initiative. Thanks are also due to funders of the project – Pub Charity, Lion Foundation, Hutt Mana Energy Trust, the Ron Greenwood Environmental Trust and Lower Hutt Forest & Bird.

Keywords: Birds, Events, Possum Traps

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Mainland Island Restoration Operation (MIRO

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Miro - History

At a meeting on 5 June 2009 the members present voted unanimously to apply to the Registrar of Incorporated Societies for incorporation under the Incorporated Societies Act, and to apply to the Charities Commission for charitable status.