is a stronghold for pateke but they struggle over the typically
very dry summer months to find food (especially juveniles) as
all the previously soggy pasture dries up and wetlands become
overgrown with weed species. We do still graze some “wetlands”
periodically over summer specifically for pateke (these are
generally heavily modified seeps that have been grazed for
decades and if are not grazed, quickly become rank with thick
swards mercer or kikuyu grass). But apart from grazing I have
been looking at other alternatives over the past year. This has
involved spraying some wetlands & digging out small ponds,
building bunds & damming up a few drains. Spraying sounds
terrible but these wetlands were so overgrown (with mercer grass
& Lotus major) that they were taking over the wetlands & making
it practically impenetrable for foraging teal to access. Its
still early days but so far the results look promising with
water pooling on the surface of these areas.
wetland is now riddled with teal foot prints and probing bill
marks. There are juvenile teal living on the edges of it and
teal have been seen feeding there at night (as well as eels,
pukeko & stilts).
One trial bund
has been built and seems to have worked so far. This involved
damming up & building a bund across one branch of a drain that
was trickling slowly downstream into a road ditch. The aim here
is to hold some water back that will encourage damp pasture
around the edges and retain shallow water over summer.
Monitoring is and will be done at night to check whether teal
are using these areas. So far, over two nights (only a couple of
hours) I have caught/ seen 10 teal associated with this area.
One teal seems to be residing there in the day as well.
other small drains & culverts has also been carried out with
instant gratification! I am also going to trial hoses off the
water troughs to keep shallow ponding areas wet in paddocks.
Some areas we literally want flooded pasture but in others I am
hoping to restore wetlands to their former glory. I have been
planting some wetlands with help from the local school and other
area staff, and plan a big planting of wetlands and their
margins, next autumn.
roosting rafts have been built & have been launched onto ponds.
The first raft built in 2007 has proved to be hit and currently
has over 20 teal on it. Hopefully the new rafts will prove to be
as popular as pateke start flocking at their favourite sites.
Jo Sim is Ranger in charge of monitoring and conserving teal
on Great Barrier Island.