4 May 2020
Autumn is the best time to fossick for fungi and appreciate the magic of mushrooms! Our ranger Craig recently took this amazing shot of a North Island robin next to a beautiful fungus that popped up in the northern enclosure. Sue Dela Rue, our admin extraordinaire has a passion for fungi and was quick to consult experts to identify it for us: Macrolepiota clelandii, also known as the “graceful parasol”. Great work team!
Fungi at Maungatautari have probably received less attention than they should…but the more we discuss it, the more fungus fans keep popping up. So, are you a fan of fungus and plan to come to the maunga this Autumn? (Keeping to lockdown rules of course!) Here is how you can help become a citizen scientist for Maungatautari. Join iNaturalist and log any fungi you see via the app. There are already 39 fungal species logged here! Ensure that any photos you take include the top (cap), stalk (stipe) and under the cap (gills) if possible. Also, if you can make a note of the substrate (type of tree, leaf litter or otherwise) that will also help for long-term monitoring. iNaturalist experts will help to identify the species for you. You will need to log-in and here is a link to the how-to’s page: https://inaturalist.nz/pages/getting+started
Prior to the lockdown, we had DOC staff visit the maunga twice to complete Tier 1 monitoring near the Pukeatua peak. Tier 1 is a long-term nationwide survey system that incorporates a 20m x 20m vegetation plot, bird counts, soil and lichen samples and more. The data is stored by DOC long-term and used for multiple purposes including research, land use and carbon accounting such as for climate change reporting. Here are some links if you would like to know more:
Testing of management options was undertaken recently to improve the grass quality and prepare for planting in Tautari Wetland. This included scrub cutting, spraying a separate area (including gypsy wort) and trimming trees. The takahē were penned up for the day whilst the spray dried and only takahē safe-sprays were used as approved by the Takahē Recovery Group.
The kohanga project has seen eight more kiwi releases in March, with a few more left for the season. Two kiwi were monitored for two weeks in Tauratri Wetland by the kiwi ranger prior to release to the main mountain, to ensure they were gaining weight. Both gained weight quickly and were released to the main mountain in excellent health.
Kaka feeding was halted in March, due to significant wasp issues around the sipper feeders. Due to Covid-19 and staff on essential services, the kaka feeding was not reinstated until mid-April, but is now continuing twice weekly along with the hihi and takahe feeding.
Photo credit: Craig Montgomerie