Our fundraising for this project went better than expected – many those to those who contributed. We purchased three solar-powered speaker systems and installed them at the end of April this year along the eastern cliff tops of Shakespear Open Sanctuary to attract seabirds. Each system has two directional speakers which broadcast the target species calls out to sea during the night. We have set cameras up at the sites to monitor whether birds are visiting in response to the calls.
About a month after installation we had our first visitor. Since then individuals of each of the target species (Grey-faced Petrel, Fluttering Shearwater and Diving Petrel) have been visiting each of the three sites at night Huaroa Point at the northeastern tip of the headland is proving to be the most popular spot (photo at right).
These birds nest underground and would dig their own burrows but readily use nest-boxes or existing burrows if available. So volunteers have built and installed thirty nest-boxes, each with an access tunnel, to encourage birds to nest. Some of the boxes are being regularly checked out by visiting birds as evident by digging marks and feathers left in the boxes.
At the moment there are still Fluttering Shearwaters and Diving Petrels regularly visiting the sites. If these birds are going to nest at Shakespear this year it is likely to start around now. Watch this space for future news about any nesting discoveries. If we get any nesting activity this year it will be fantastic, however it is a long-term task to re-establish a functioning seabird colony. Having the number of visiting birds we have had so far is a really promising start!
Lately there has been a pair of Little Penguins regularly visiting the sanctuary via Army Bay beach. One of the biggest threats to penguins is being attacked by dogs. So if you walk your dog at this beach please ensure it is always supervised and kept controlled. We are looking at installing some penguin nest boxes to encourage more penguins to nest within the sanctuary.