Firstly, welcome to our newest members. This brief newsletter is to catch up on other news before the seminar on the 14th July. The next newsletter will be around 16-17th July with links the presented papers. Apologies to those of you who will be attending, as you will also be receiving a separate email with the same links around July 16. Meanwhile, if you haven’t already read it or listened to the podcast, I recommend Charlie Mitchell’s story and podcast: The Rewilding Project – New Zealand’s Braided Rivers. While the birds now have more options to nest, the push back from those who have developed these rivers and are now suffering the fallout is vocal. If anyone is planning to attend the upcoming Making Room for Rivers – Rivers Group Conference 2021, it would be great to hear what engineers are thinking as this topic is going to be increasingly contentious as well as costly.
Looking forward to seeing many of you next week.
Sonny Whitelaw firstname.lastname@example.org
Reports & bird surveys:
By now, those of your organising bird surveys should have received an invitation from Jean Jack to enter your intended survey dates this year into their calendar. If you were looking for survey assistance from ECan, please let Jean know: Jean.Jack@ecan.govt.nz
ECan can print off field survey sheets with the 1km reach format on waterproof paper to those river care groups that would like them. I’ve also loaded a copy of these sheets here (Word document).
A copy of DOC’s best practice protocols for surveys is also available here (PDF). Standardising how we provide our data to DOC (Andy Grant) will assist everyone with reporting and data management.
- April 2020-March 2021 Ashburton Hakatere river mouth (full report inc. bird surveys)
- 2020 bird survey Orari River (raw data xls spreadsheet)
Reminder: past bird surveys across rivers can be found on each river page in this section of the website.
- New Zealand Bird Atlas new KML files now available show all surveyed points for winter, spring, and summer. These can be imported into Maps.Me, Google Earth or any other mapping programme.
Te Kura Huna – Ground water, the hidden treasure: great video from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (or scroll down to the bottom of this page) incorporating Mātauranga Māori it explain groundwater and the hydrological cycle.
- Along with applied research, the University of Canterbury Freshwater Ecology Research Group (FERG) is producing some great videos, for example, this one explaining the problem of sedimentation in rivers.
- Rod Oram: Commission’s agricultural myopia fails NZ (NZ Herald)
Flood related news
- The Rewilding Project: New Zealand’s Braided Rivers (Stuff/ The Forever Project; also available as a podcast on this page)
- On a side note, ‘Event attribution’ works out what percentage, if any, climate change is responsible for the frequency and scale of extreme weather. See here to find out more.
- Driftwood lines sand of Kairaki Beach like carpet after Canterbury floods (One News drone footage)
Ashburton Hakatere north and south river branches.
The 1960s shows the extent of the braidplain where river channels historically flowed during high water events. The colour image (click the B&W image if the colour one doesn’t appear as an overlay) from Google Earth dated 01 June 2021, shows where the north branch utilized some of its previous channels. For a larger image see here.
- 9pm Friday 28 May: 6.168 cumecs
- 9pm Saturday 29 May: 21.962 cumecs
- 9pm Sunday 30 May: 1,515.139 cumecs
Most rivers and streams run dry every year Nature 594 (open access article)
- Magnetic sensitivity of cryptochrome 4 from a migratory songbird Nature 594 (open access article)
- Podcast on the above research: Quantum compass might help birds ‘see’ magnetic fields: “The finding brings us a step closer to the “holy grail” of sensory biology, says zoologist Eric Warrant. “We have eyes for vision, we have ears for hearing, but we have no organ that we know of that’s involved in magnetoreception… it’s the last sense we effectively know nothing about.””
- Seagull eggs in the UK have been contaminated with plastic additives (New Scientist)
- Effects of climate variation on bird escape distances modulate community responses to global change (Nature Scientific Reports 595)
- Limited potential for bird migration to disperse plants to cooler latitudes (Nature 595)
- Open access Nature News item on the above: Migratory birds aid the redistribution of plants to new climates
- A blast from the past; published in 1892: Native New Zealand Birds (Nature 46) “FROM a scientific point of view it is of so much importance that native New Zealand birds should be protected that many naturalists will read with interest the following memorandum, which was drawn up by Lord Onslow, the late Governor of New Zealand, and presented to both Houses of the General Assembly by command of his Excellency.”