Looking for some very yummy Christmas treats this year with a braided river bird theme? You can’t do any better than Karikaas’ gold-medal cheeses! A percentage of the sales revenue is donated to the Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group.
Well, we’ve almost made it to the end of 2020. Google recently put out a request to describe the year in one word. I was tempted to write ‘delete’, but that wouldn’t give credit to the immense effort made by so many of you to keep the weeds and predators at bay, install signs and maintain tracks, keep up the awareness and education strategies, and work tirelessly in a dozen different ways to advocate for our incredible braided rivers and their equally incredible wildlife. Not all efforts were successful, and I know how upsetting that’s been for several of you. But as Greg Brynes from Tuhaitara Coastal Park reminded me last Friday, we’re all part of a connected team. Some years parts of that wider team may not achieve everything we’d hoped. It’s been a particularly disastrous outcome for the banded dotterels at South Bay, Kaikoura, largely due to one domestic cat. This is also devastating for Ailsa Howard who has been monitoring them. The loss of breeding adults in particular is hard to take in (see the video below). Two chicks were rescued, successfully raised (video), and released. Fingers crossed they return as adults.
There have also been uplifting moments. Copies of this unsigned note were dropped into countless letterboxes around the Pegasus, Woodend, Pines Beach areas last week. The writer hadn’t called Greg, instead urging others to do so. As a by the way, no cats have been caught in their traps since before the lockdown. Perhaps this person had a much-loved pet rat or stoat.
I was with Greg on Friday when one of the local residents, who’d just found one of these notes in her letterbox, came by with a gift of freshly picked apricots and chocolate as a gesture of thanks for his tireless work.
She wasn’t alone.Messages of support have been flooding in, both in person and on social media.
People really do care about what we’re trying to achieve across our rivers and coast, forests, wetlands, and grasslands. So thank you to all for your personal fortitude and your amazing efforts during this particularly challenging year. Have a fantastic Christmas and wonderful New Year.
Sonny Whitelaw email@example.com
PS: Pencil into your diaries! The 2021 Braided Rivers seminar will be held at Lincoln University Wednesday 14 July.
- Project River Recovery Annual Report 2019-2020
- Ashley Rakahuri River 2020 Bird Survey
- Creating bird habitat on the Ashley Rakahuri
- UN Environment Programme: Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 Summary for Policymakers
- Next funding round for the Freshwater Improvement Fund opens in January. And it couldn’t come too soon…
- Health warnings are now in place for the following Canterbury braided rivers (and I’m still shocked by this, no matter how often it happens):
- Native habitat ‘under attack’ nationwide as offenders face little consequence, data shows (Stuff)
- Stream illegally diverted, wetland drained by business owners wanting better access to quarry (Stuff)
- Great to see the traps we donated to the Orari River Protection Group being put to good use
- Inner city rare gull colony ‘pumping out birds’ in second breeding season (Stuff)
- New Zealand Bird Atlas Challenge for December
- World leaders are waking up to the ocean’s role in a healthy planet (Nature open access)
- Rewild to mitigate the climate crisis, urge leading scientists (The Guardian)
- Hoihoi need to eat better (New Zealand Geographic). This is a topic we raised at the 2019 braided rivers seminar: the impacts of climate change on the ocean appear largely invisible, except to the birds that depend on the ocean for their food. The ‘canary in the coal mine’ in the case of NZ’s ocean is the hoiho.
- Stopping the march of our worst weeds (Radio NZ)
- Good news: High Court decision relating to dairy conversions at Simons Pass Station in the Mackenzie Basin (Environmental Defence Society)
- White stoats photographed by motion activated trail cameras in the mountains of the Te Manahuna Aoraki project area.
- All at sea – the surprising reach of river waters (Radio NZ podcast)
- Kiwi scientist wins global prize to help investigate combatting climate change by restoring estuaries and waterways (Stuff)
Social attractants, a conservation tool for black‐fronted terns (Wildlife Society Bulletin)
The changing face of birds from the age of the dinosaurs (Nature open access)
- Bird beak extra sense evolved more than 70 million years ago (New Scientist open access)
Homogenization of the terrestrial water cycle (Nature Geoscience)
- Global priority areas for ecosystem restoration (Nature open access…but not sure for how long)