Restoring the Dawn Chorus
The Dawn Chorus Project is now in its 17th year with a small, but dedicated team of volunteers working trap lines within the Catchpool and surrounding areas. Over this period more than 5,000 possums, 3,200 rats, and numerous hedgehogs and stoats have been removed from the area, but with constant re-invasion taking place, the need to trap is ongoing.
The aim of the Dawn Chorus project is to reduce the level of all predators and pest animals within the valley to allow native bird and plant life to thrive once again.
The efforts of the trapping team is clearly evident with a big increase in native birds and the return of some species thought to be lost from the area. Our 5 Minute Bird Counts in the area show the following species are present in the Valley:
Bellbirds (korimako), tui (parson bird), paradise ducks, long tail and shining cuckoos (pipiwharauroa), grey warblers (riroriro), rifleman, kingfishers, pukeko, fantails (piwakawaka), Australasian harriers, silvereye (tauhou), tomtits (piropiro), kakariki, pipits (pihoihoi), bush falcon (karearea), whiteheads (popokatea), morepork (ruru), welcome swallows, and wood pigeon (kereru).
To see the full list that includes non-native bird species, please click here. [5MBC]
The increased conspicuousness of native species is further helped by the huge efforts of the Catchpool Restoration Project, where planting native trees and removing pest plants is increasing the habitat ranges available to the birds.
The Rimutaka Forest Park Trust is now planning to increase the trapping network to provide better coverage of the area and remove even more pests. However, more volunteers are needed to help check and re-set the traps more frequently.
The Dawn Chorus project has possum, stoat and rat traps which need to be frequently checked and re-set. These are on established trap lines ranging from 30 minutes to 3 hours long, all based within the Catchpool Valley. Please have a look at the Volunteers page if you are interested in helping out.
A curious Morepork (Ruru) looked on as photographer, and Rimutaka Forest Park Trust member, Margaret Willard, was enjoying a walk in the bush; "There were three of them," she said, " two young ones and a parent, maybe. None seemed to mind me flashing away! When I got up to go, they followed me until I started climbing out of the gully..." (Photo credit: Margaret Willard)