We recently had our regular trip to Motuara Island to check the health of our juveniles from last year’s successful breeding season.
My sister Tor and our other volunteer Breezy (who has been helping us in Franz Josef with some kiwi and kea work for a month or so) were blown away seeing these incredible animals so close to the boat. As we continued on our way they decided to follow in the wake of our boat and swam right behind, the two small seals struggling to keep up as the boat got some speed up.
After our incredible ride out we arrived on Motuara Island and unloaded our gear ready for the afternoon’s work.
Tor and I focussed on the south-western side of the island….our first stop found three young kiwi together in a large rocky hole. Tor was amazed as I continued to pull kiwis from the hole! I showed her how to change their harnesses, weigh them to ensure they are growing well and measure their bill lengths.
We continued to the next burrows, eventually getting to an area called Penguin Avenue just before dusk. I thought we would try to change one more harness as we seemed very close to the kiwi from the sound of the transmitter.
The signal lead us to one of the wooden burrows we have placed around the island for extra homes for newly introduced kiwi and as we carefully lifted the lid we found seven kiwi inside! Wow….it’s always exciting to see so many nesting together as the unique rowi seem to like to do when they are young.
We sat down and started to change lots of transmitters and by this stage it was dark and time for kiwi to forage so as we finished checking a bird we would release it nearby.
Tor was astounded when several happily foraged close by and we sat and watched fascinated as they moved around, burying their bills into the undergrowth to look for insects to eat. We could hear their characteristic sniffling as they blew any dirt from the nostrils uniquely placed at the very tip of their bill.