The Tutukaka Lighthouse / Kukutauwhao Island is a popular walk for locals and visitors. Most people trek there for the calf burning stairs and dramatic views. But did you realise just how important this spot is to some other locals… our Oi, Kiwi and Kauri?
This is a friendly reminder to please, please keep your dogs on a short walking lead on the council reserve leading to the island and stick to the paths, my dog found several ‘grass holes’ beside the path and indicated birds along the way, we think there maybe even Kiwi living here! They often roost in long grass like this during the day and forage in these spots at night diving back into the brush for cover when they need to.
Kauri stand like sentinels tucked, sheltered just inside Tutukaka Harbour entrance. We’ve all heard our Kauri are in trouble with the spread of Kauri die-back and urge you to clean your shoes and make sure you stay on the paths when enjoying this area to help protect these Kauri!
We also need your help to keep dogs off Kukutauwhao Island.
Sadly, roaming dogs have been responsible for the predation of Oi/Grey Faced Petrel’s on the Lighthouse Island. These Oi use Kukutauwhao Island (thats the one the Lighthouse is on) for breeding, they nest in burrows in the ground to raise their young which makes them extremely vulnerable to predators like dogs, cats, stoats and rats.
Earlier this year, Kaitiaki from Ngunguru School on an EarthED field trip joined Cam McInnes and OSNZ members/Local ‘Oi Rangers’ Hilton Ward & Dayna Davies to learn more about these birds, and their importance to us as a community. They also helped to install artificial burrows to try and provide them safer housing for this season.
A colony of Oi on the coast that is monitored have eggs in their burrows (they can tell this by the duration the birds are staying in the nesting burrows and how routine the change-over is between the parents). From here until these chicks fledge (over the summer) is the most important time for us to be vigilant with trapping and keeping predators like our pet dogs and cats away.
Here are a few shots on a grey day with the ocean raging around Kukutauwhao Island, our Oi will be tucked up in their burrows, hopefully getting on with laying eggs!