During the autumn and winter periods the Incorporation was able to work alongside the Department of Conservation in completing two seperate surveys for both the Kiwi and Kokako. The purpose for each survey was ultimately ascertaining the relative numbers of the Kiwi and Kokako within the Opuiaki forest.
Kokako - approximately 500 ha was surveyed over a 25 day period for the Kokako. The findings were a minimum of 10 territorial pairs and 13 territorial singles. 5 juveniles were also recorded.
Kiwi - 21 sites within the Opuiaki had automatic bird recorders set up over a 12 day time-frame. This surveyed period was in a dark moon phase, a known peak time for calling. There were 11 calls detected over 325 hours of recordings. Estimates have a minimum local Brown Kiwi population of 8 birds. Of significant note, a kiwi was heard from Waitaia lodge on two seperate nights.
A number of other species of bird were sighted and or recorded including North Island Kaka, NZ Falcon, NZ Pigeon, Tomtit, North Island Robin, Tui, Bellbird and Whio.
Unfortunatelty comparing against the last survey completed in 2012, there has been a significant decline in numbers of Kokako. The Department of Conservation staff had expected a decline due to the absence of pest control in the very challenging terrain of the Opuiaki.
At the moment the Incorporation is in discussion with the Department of Conservation about a pest control strategy in order to protect our Kokako and Kiwi populations.