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  • Braid Newsletter #7

    Posted on August 24, 2015 by in Newsletters

    BRaid Newsletter #7 : 24 August 2015

    Hello everyone,

    Spring is just a week away, so the birds that inhabit my lake keep reminding me, with several species vying for who owns what particular patch of the shoreline.  So I  thought now would be a good time to post a copy of Ethical Birding Guidelines. This was produced by Birdlife Australia in 2012, but is just as relevant to New Zealand, and even more relevant to BRaid as we begin looking at ways to engage commercial braided river, particularly tour operators, in bird watching. 

    Also worth keeping in mind the  ‘Godzilla’ (NASA’s words) El Niño brewing means  Canterbury is likely to continue drought conditions through until early next year. This places increasing pressure on braided rivers in multiple ways, including the demand for water for irrigation (see The Timaru Herald article published last Friday), higher localised in-water temperatures (with a commensurate likely increase in algae blooms and decrease in macroinvertebrates) and increasing salt-water incursion into estuaries. The latter has already led to a mass eel death in the Waipara River estuary. Reduced water flows in foothill-fed rivers, and conversely, greater chance of flooding in Alpine fed-rivers (due to stronger Westerly winds) are also something for those running trapping programmes to keep in mind.


    Sonny Whitelaw,

    BRaid Manager (

    Rise of the Citizen Scientist

    From the oceans to the soil, technology is changing the part that amateurs can play in research. But this greater involvement raises concerns that must be addressed.

    Study: New Zealand’s freshwater species are disappearing

    Ecologists in New Zealand say the island nation’s freshwater species are in serious trouble. In a recent report, scientists reveal 74 percent of the islands’ freshwater fish, mussel and crayfish species are threatened by extinction.

    Spotlight on the Robust Grasshopper

    Now that the breeding season is underway, all of our attention will be on birds. However, as author, museum director and entomologist Brian Patrick points out, there are other amazing species in our braided rivers.

     Upper Waimakariri River 2014 Bird Survey Report

    The full report on the Upper Waimakariri River bird survey is now available to download here (3.5Mb).

    The State of Australia’s Birds

    The report from Birdlife Australia is now out. This summary report (15-page PDF) makes good use of graphs and infographics to highlight the dramatic decline of bird numbers in key ecosystems.

    Exhibition celebrating the flora and fauna of the Waimakariri

    Invitation to Kate Jacob’s exhibition of oil pencil works celebrating the flora and fauna of the Waimakariri District.

    Funding opportunities

    BRaid news

    AGM – Reminder! Our next meeting, which is also our AGM, will be held 1.00pm Monday 7th September at 31 Ngai Mahi Road Christchurch (map).

    Membership If you are not already a member of BRaid, you can join as a General, Casual, or Representative member. Membership is a modest $20/annum and entitles you to vote, receive periodic print newsletters and help BRaid continue to operate. As the AGM is coming up soon, this is also your opportunity to take a place on the management committee to help direct BRaid’s activities.

    World Wildlife Fund We have just learned that our application to the World Wildlife Fund for sponsorship has been approved. We would like to express our appreciation to WWW for their ongoing support of BRaid, as we head into 2016. 

    Braided River bird courses. Trapping courses will be held 17/18 October and braided river bird course 03 and 10 November. I’ll be working on the flyers, calendar pages, and eventbrite pages tomorrow and Wednesday, and will email everyone directly later in the week.  

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