Our new Field Ranger, Linden, has been monitoring the Sooty Shearwater colony at Cape Foulwind and he reports: “Early reports are promising, with at least 15 breeding pairs on eggs. These eggs (and chicks once they hatch) are highly vulnerable to stoat predation, so the Trust maintains a trapline around the colony to keep stoat numbers to a minimum. Over the next month we will hopefully see some eggs hatching and little balls of fluff appearing!”
Sooty shearwaters are a colony nester, nesting in the far Southern Hemisphere. The breeding season lasts from September to May, and during this time, the birds are most active in the colonies at night. The nest is placed in a burrow dug in the soil by both parents.
Ranger Linden burrowscoping (Photo: Linden Brown)
Burrowscoping is a useful way to locate and verify the presence of bird nests. We use this for petrels, shearwaters and penguins. (Photo: Linden Brown)
Sooty shearwaters off the coast of Stewart Island. They are migratory birds that cover both the Pacific and Atlantic basins as they travel around the globe.
In the Atlantic, the birds can cover more than 12,000 miles in a year, traveling from their breeding colonies in the Antarctic up to their Arctic feeding grounds. The sooty shearwater is a near threatened species.
All photos taken by Kerry-Jayne Wilson unless indicated. Featured image of bird in burrow taken by Linden Brown.