As part of the Braided Rivers Partnership Project (BRPP), Trustpower in conjunction with Coleridge Habitat Enhancement Trust, are working to implement strategies to improve braided river bird habitats in the Harper and Wilberforce Rivers, through:
- Weed clearing
- Visitor information signs
The primary focus is the Harper River delta, which flows into Lake Coleridge. Willows and other invasive plant species are encroaching and destroying the natural ‘braids’ crucial to river bird breeding.
Trustpower are systematically clearing the delta of weeds in such a way that it creates an appealing nesting environment for the birds.
In October 2016, they installed predator traps (DOC2000s and Timms) provided by BRaid under the BRPP, and almost immediately began catching ferrets and hedgehogs, known braided river bird predators.
November 2016, four signs were installed in key locations where the rivers are accessed by hunters and fishermen.
At the same time, a check of the area revealed that banded dotterels were nesting in the delta.
A family of South Island Pied Oystercatchers were also seen (2 adults and 1 juvenile). The juvenile had been spotted a few weeks earlier, but as with all baby birds, wasn’t so easy to identify at the time – see below!
The hope is that wrybill, which are found in larger number downstream in the Rakaia River, will also return in the coming years.
A bird survey in December 2018 found critically endangered black-fronted terns and other rare and endangered braided river bird species have indeed begun nesting in the delta area.
If you would like more information about this project or would like to become involved in the Braided Rivers Partnership Project, please contact email@example.com