Fieldwork week 1 day 4
Location: Nugget Point, Catlins
Exhaustion took over so blog posts have been stalled for a few days. But back to it! Our 4th day (Thursday) started with a quick breakfast. We we searching Nugget Point for the day so we walked down the windy, inclined road to Roaring Bay and Kaimataitai. Roaring Bay has a small car park and toilets at the beginning of a trail that leads past the beach and to a large hide for wildlife viewing.
Half of the group went to count nests here, but I went with Mel and two other volunteers to Kaimataitai (or the bush that is part of the site). This was on the other side of the road and not accessible to people. This site had a stream/creek running down the middle with steep vegetated cliffs forming a valley around it. Here I found my first nest at the beginning of the creek! While Mel pointed me in the right direction, I consider this an independent find 😉 The adult was tucked away under some vegetation, but the poo really gave it away! We scanned for a microchip, checked how many eggs (2), marked the nest, and wrote down all the information. It makes it all worth it when you find a nest with a healthy adult incubating eggs.
I walked a bit further along the creek to check if there were any more nests. No such luck. We then climbed up the hill closest to the water and stopped at a clearing. We left our day bags here and began searching the bushed around the area. There was quite a bit of stinging nettle but apart from that, it was a really nice area to search. I was quite tired though and my knees were quite sore from the day before. But I kept plodding. We called it quits after about an hour and half/two hours. Most of the area had been searched and we found quite a few previous nests sights that are no longer being used. There had been some dogs in this area and some had been injured/killed (also by other predators including barracuda). We had a long walk back up to the house, uphill this time. It seemed to take forever, and it was quite warm and sunny. I had also ran out of water but was in desperate need of some. I never seem to have enough though.
When we finally made it back, we prepared lunch (pizza and paninis, yummy!) for us and the other group who had not returned yet. It was so nice to just relax for a bit. After lunch, we had one more searching area for the day. I did not expect this so, to be honest, was a bit bummed we had to go out again, just because I was so tired. In the end though, you really can do anything you set your mind to! We started near the house on one of cliffs that overlooks Roaring Bay. There had been a few nests in this area before but nothing this time. I expect some bachelor males or molting birds had been up there though, as poo and feathers were present. We all started walking down the hill/cliff, but eventually I got a bit lost. I knew what direction I was facing but couldn’t quite work out where I was in relation to the road or other side of the cliff edge. At one point I knew it must be time to be heading back, but I could not figure out which way to go. I kept hitting dead ends… the bush seemed to go on forever. I couldn’t hear anyone either, but I knew if I just kept walking I would find my way eventually. And I did, although I came out on the road quite a far distance from where I began and quite far off from where I thought I was. Mel had been searching for me for some time but further up the hill, and I couldn’t hear her. Oops. All is well that ends well I suppose. Now I know that the site looks like though!
The day ended with dinner, rest, and an early bed time.