Well what a hectic time we are having here in Waiau.
We finally got out last Friday and put traps out on the other bank of the Mason River.
This time we had rabbit, which was kindly donated by the Waiau Pig Shoot, to use as bait and as usual I am finding it very difficult to not go and see what if anything we have in the traps. The weather and time constraints have delayed us getting back to check the other traps but some are visible from the track and I know they have occupants. So it is now becoming urgent to get out and check them.
We took time this week and to take a walk down the lower section of the Waiau that we are looking after this year and were very disappointed not to see anything except 2 South Island Oystercatchers. There were a lot of Californian Quails about and a couple of Canada Geese flying over head. I had hoped to find the Black-fronted Terns nesting but apart from 5 fishing nothing. It was however an eyeopening experience seeing just how much of the river bed is silted up and the amount of growth in the form of Broom, Willows and Lupin that is there. The main channel of the Waiau is running along the town side and the rest of the riverbed shows signs of recent running water but nothing much is there now. The silt left behind by the river is so thick in places that it was more like walking on a Cobbled road than a riverbed. I am not sure who is supposed to take care of things that grow in the riverbed but I'm sure it must be someones responsibility. Any suggestions gratefully received.
The good news this week came from a group of BRaid members who took a walk down the Conway river to check out a report of a colony of blackbilled Gulls nesting there. What they found was a strong colony of about 2000 birds nesting with some chicks hatching. Some of the Waiau group will go back in about 3 weeks to check on their success. The good thing was that the local farmer was thrilled to find out that he had endangered birds nesting on his bit of the river and tells me that they come either to the Conway or the Charwell every year but not normally in those sort of numbers.
I was thrilled with this news as the Waiau has been so fulll that the chances of them nesting here this year were remote to say the least. At least they have stayed in North Canterbury and with luck will check us out next year.
So all that remains is for us to find out where the Black-fronted Terns have gone to nest and look after the Banded Dotterels nesting on the Mason.
The other thing I attempted today was to see if it was possible to get down to the area of the Waiau River behind Spotswood/Parnassus where the Wrybill nests were seen in the past. It is certainly possible to get to the river but unfortunately the deep channel was running along the bank there and there is still to much water there to get down to investigate. Roll on the dryer weather.